Abiteboul blames reaction to 'fake' F1 cars for Renault launch event

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Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says the reaction from fans to "fake" Formula 1 cars drove the decision not to reveal the R.S.20 in Paris.

This week has already seen Ferrari and Red Bull launch their 2020 cars with most unable to tell the difference between the 'new' design and their 2019 predecessors.

On Tuesday, before their 'season opener' in the French capital, Renault then announced there would be no car present for the event, which was instead limited to Q&A's with senior bosses and drivers.

That in itself raised questions, but Abiteboul responded by slamming the whole launch process.

“After last year, I read what you wrote and I read what people say about what you write about the pictures that we post, and I got extremely frustrated from people, you know, really reacting to the cars as though they are the [real] thing," he said.

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“But actually, no one is capable of presenting a [true] car. If your team is on schedule, you don’t have a car waiting here for a couple of hours or days. Your car is built and going straight to Barcelona, that is an optimised schedule.

“So on that basis, our only option was to have a fake car, a show car altered to look like this year’s car, but that is a waste of money and the results will be frankly below optimal.

“[Plus] people will always interpret based on that. So rather than that, no car. For anyone interested in the car, look at the pictures next week.”

Given launches are seen as a tradition of the F1 calendar, Abiteboul's comments are quite derogatory but at the same time, in today's ultra-secretive world where teams hide their latest concepts for as long as possible, he does also have a point.

Another thing the Renault boss was also keen to emphasise, the team's decision not to reveal a car in no ways signals any issues with their 2020 preparations.

“If anything we are much more on schedule than we were last year,” he said.

“You may remember that last year we invited you guys to come to Enstone and actually I mentioned how late we were, and that was a fact.

“Probably it was also something that impacted reliability at the start because, when you are late, you are reacting and it is all about trying to catch a train that’s gone anyway. So this year we are ahead of schedule.”