Renault: Ricciardo feedback will lead to stronger year despite 2021 focus

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Renault expects the lessons learnt with Daniel Ricciardo last year will lead to a stronger 2020 Formula 1 season.

The French manufacturer had a difficult year in 2019 as early engine reliability issues were compounded by a weak chassis and upgrades that didn't quite deliver as expected.

Heading into this year, there is another factor in Renault's approach, an effort to get a head start on those ahead with the new 2021 regulations.

"It's a big opportunity, but I don't want to make the same mistake again," team boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport Magazine, with the mistake referring to the lack of a major gain under the last rule changes in 2017.

"There is no team looking at 2021 the way we are looking at that particular year and I don't think there is any team as advanced as we are on 2021, simply because we have decided to allocate lots of resources to it."

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At the same time, like many teams, Abiteboul insists strong results this year are still important.

"2021 should not be an excuse for having a poor season in 2020," he added. "I am expecting a better season, and that we are able to deliver on the changes and improvements that we've made [in 2019]."

Key to that, Abiteboul explained was how the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo last year offered a fresh perspective on Renault and highlighted areas that perhaps had been overlooked since the works team reformed.

“Moving from P9 (in 2016) to P4 (in 2018) was fantastic, but maybe to a certain extent, it flattered us,” the Frenchman claimed.

“The good performance of last year (2018) hid some intrinsic weaknesses that we only witnessed this year with a great driver in Daniel, and with all the pressure that comes in having such a driver. It’s something we only corrected late this year.

“Daniel has been great at showing the remaining weaknesses we had, and that’s put us in a situation where we’ve nowhere to hide, and to make the changes that needed to be done.

“This year has certainly exposed what still needs to be addressed in our package.”