Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul says that the team’s decision to sign Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull will help them cut the gap to the Big Three teams quicker than would otherwise have been possible.
Abiteboul admitted that the team was unlikely to be challenging for wins this season, but insisted that signing Ricciardo meant they were now on course to meet this objective in 2020.
“I don’t see us suddenly in a position to fight for wins or fight for the championship, he told Motorsport.com. “[But] it will increase the chances to stick to the road map.
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“Anyone can think what they want about the road map that we have defined, but I think it is already quite aggressive as a road map,” he continued. “Daniel has only increased the chances to stick to the road map, which is to fight for wins by 2020.”
Abiteboul explained that progress of this sort took time regardless of how big or well funded the team was.
“We are not limited by finance, we are not limited by budget,” he insisted. “What is limiting us is time.
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“Anyone who knows enough about F1 appreciates that the gap we have to the top teams will take some time to be absorbed.
“You can only spend based on the size of your organisation. It is like a start-up: when you don’t have the revenue yet, you have a cash burn rate. An F1 organisation is exactly the same.
“[We] are limited by your ability to spend, which is a factor depending on the size of [the] company, the number of people releasing some drawings, sending that to production.
“Maybe more engineers or more people will be interested in joining us because we have sent that statement.
“One thing that Daniel should help us is compress that time, because suddenly everyone is more interested in Renault.”
Abiteboul insisted that his new driver was under no illusions about his chances of winning in 2019.
“That is not what we have told him, and he has been clear about that too,” said Abiteboul. “Daniel is a way to fast-track that scarcest resource we have, which is time.”
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