Renault Formula 1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul says Esteban Ocon’s form is “not a disaster” and has backed his driver amid a difficult 2020 season.

After claiming Renault’s first podium in nine years at the Nurburgring and thanks to a streak of top six finishes, Daniel Ricciardo has moved up to fourth place in the championship having scored 78 points from the opening 11 races of the season.

In contrast, Ocon currently lies 12th in the drivers’ standings with 36 points and has not finished inside the top five since taking a joint-career-best P5 at the Belgian Grand Prix in August.

Despite Ocon’s struggles relative to Ricciardo, Abiteboul can see progress being made and reckons a breakthrough result could be just around the corner.

“He needs to do what he’s been doing since a few races that, unfortunately, have not really materialised, but for reasons that are not in his direct control,” Abiteboul said.

"Mugello it is not entirely clear what happened with the brake warning issue, if we had procedure stuff or a debriefing, we still don’t know.

“But let’s be clear, since Monza – Monza was difficult – it’s been a reset of Esteban, the way that the we are all working together.

“There’s been a lot of discussion, lots of hard work for Mark Slade, who is not new into race engineering, in order to bring him through the steps.”

Abiteboul insisted he is not concerned about the gap in performance between Ocon and Ricciardo and is confident the Frenchman can ultimately turn things around.

“He needs to be very pragmatic about the situation, which is not a disaster,” he added.

“Frankly, if you if you were to remove the points he has lost due to lack of reliability he would probably be behind Daniel by a chunk.

“But we’re talking about Daniel Ricciardo. He never had such a strong team mate. He has had good team mates, Perez in particular is strong, but I believe that Daniel is stronger.”

“Build also his ability to be a bit patient sometimes. Like lots of young drivers he has a bit of impatience that’s leading him to do some small mistakes.

“But I have absolutely no worries that this cannot be fixed and with the support of the team around him, it will be fixed."

 

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