MAY 27, 2015
Abiteboul smiling after Monaco boost
Cyril Abiteboul left Monaco with a smile on his face.
It has been a tough period for Renault's F1 chief, as he realised the scale of the performance and reliability problems with the 2015 'power unit', and fended off constant criticism from furious partner Red Bull.
"I am really thinking about Viry," he said after Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo finished a credible fourth and fifth in Monaco.
Abiteboul was referring to Renault's French F1 headquarters, where staff have given "everything" in the past weeks to recover from the notably "bad phase".
In a French-language AFP report, he said Renault had achieved its goal for Monaco of "reliability and driveability".
"The drivers did not complain at any time," said Abiteboul. "They were able to attack when they wanted to and manage their tyres."
Abiteboul may have been happy for other reasons, too.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn flew into the Principality at the weekend, and reportedly met with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
It is rumoured Ghosn told the Briton that Renault intends to honour its engine supply contracts to Red Bull and Toro Rosso through 2016, and perhaps then set up a works team.
Red Bull, however, has more immediate concerns, as it expects Renault to struggle much more next weekend on the long straights of the Montreal circuit.
Not only that, it could be in Canada where Renault-powered drivers begin to serve ten-place penalties for fitting fifth engines.
But Abiteboul is hopeful. He smiled as he hinted Mercedes and Ferrari might have to be "more conservative" in Canada, adopting "a more reasoned approach in their interpretation of the regulations following the FIA's recent clarifications".
Undoubtedly, he is referring to paddock speculation of sophisticated fuel systems to sidestep the fuel flow rules.
"I am looking forward to Montreal," Abiteboul concluded.