Renault 'can now be taken seriously' in F1 after Eifel GP podium

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Renault "can now be taken seriously" in Formula 1 following their first podium in a decade at the Eifel Grand Prix, team boss Cyril Abiteboul says.

Having made strong gains in the first few years since taking over the remains of Lotus at the end of 2015, the Enstone-based outfit hit the buffers somewhat last season, as they slipped back into the midfield pack.

During the early races of 2020, that theme looked set to be repeated. But after finding the sweet spot of their RS20 car during the summer, results have dramatically improved culminating in Daniel Ricciardo's P3 at the Nurburgring.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Abiteboul of the team's first podium as a full constructor since 2009 to L'Equipe.

“It’s a long path to where we want to go and we have taken an important step. We have seen it coming for quite some time actually.”

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Asked what the recent performances and off-track commitment meant for Renault, Abiteboul continued...

“I guess it gives confidence that we are on the right trajectory to progress,” he said.

“What we do is only relative to what the others will be doing between now and the next few years.

“But certainly I feel that we can now be taken seriously when you say that first we are committed to the sport because some of the question marks were on the commitment of Renault.

“That is now very clear with new leadership from [CEO] Luca de Meo, there is a clear corporate strategy with Alpine, and the team is progressing," the Frenchman continued.

“The target last year was to reach more or less engine parity and we’ve done that last year, there is still a bit more to come, the next target was for the chassis to make a clear step and we’ve done that.

“Now when we say in the future the next step we want to take we can also be taken seriously but again there is still so much more to come in order to get to a position to win races on a regular basis.”

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The only downside for Renault was Ricciardo's decision to leave for McLaren back in May, something that, at the time, irked Abiteboul.

“It blew me away to hear him announce his departure because this winter, I felt the car had potential,” he said.

“The pandemic stopped everything, but I blame myself for not having been able to show Daniel what was the true potential of our project.”