Renault has nothing to fear and “all the reasons to be confident” heading into the 2019 Formula 1 season, according to team boss Cyril Abiteboul. 

The French squad finished behind only Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in 2018 as it claimed fourth place to lead the midfield pack and secure its best result since returning to the sport as a fully-fledged works outfit in 2016. 

It has prized Daniel Ricciardo away from Red Bull to partner team regular Nico Hulkenberg for the upcoming season but Abiteboul insisted the arrival of a seven-time grand prix winner to the team does not bring additional pressure. 

Cyril Abiteboul - Renault F1 pre-season interview

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“The pressure is on all of us but the pressure has not started this year, the pressure started in back in 2015 when we decided to enter into this sport,” Abiteboul said. 

“Pressure is absolutely part of F1 everywhere and for everyone, just a bit higher this year. But we should have no fear. A lot has been happening in the last three years. 

“We have all the reasons to be confident. It’s not going to happen in one day but hopefully the momentum keeps on going with [2019 drivers Ricciardo and Hulkenberg].” 

Speaking at the team’s launch of its 2019 F1 car earlier this week, Abiteboul said it is just a matter of time before Renault secures the “technical breakthrough” it requires to enjoy success again in F1, while it is confident of having made significant engine gains

Hulkenberg echoed Abiteboul’s comments and believes Renault can make improvements in all areas, particularly with regards to its rate of development throughout the season. 

"I think we did a lot of things already well and good last year and the last few years speak for that, you saw it in the results,” Hulkenberg added.  

“Perhaps last year it wasn’t quite as smooth and the developments didn’t come through like we wanted to, so that was one point that was not so good and we need to become better this year. 

“We just need a little bit more in a lot of areas, it’s not just about one or two things. It’s about making it all work together, finding details in all areas and putting it all together and working as a team and extracting everything.” 

 

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