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Renault need to regain confidence, says team boss

(left to right) Esteban Ocon, Daniel Ricciardo, managing director Cyril Abiteboul and former F1 champion Alain Prost

Renault need to “regain confidence” this season after a tough 2019, their Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says.

They fell from fourth to fifth in the world championship last season, which led to a significant staff reshuffle and their technical director’s exit.

“Taking back fourth position in the constructors’ championship remains the objective,” Abiteboul said.

Abiteboul added that the team needed to “set the best possible course for the major regulation changes of 2021”.

F1 is introducing new technical rules next year aimed at closing up the field and making the racing more competitive.

Abiteboul was talking at a Renault event in Paris at which the team teased images of parts of their new car, which is not yet complete and will not emerge until the first day of pre-season testing on 19 February.

The event was attended by new chassis technical director Pat Fry, who has replaced the ousted Nick Chester.

Abiteboul added: “For the coming season, we must respect the three priorities identified during the off-season: reliability from the get-go; ensuring a high level of development very early in the season and having a good conversion rate on track.”

These reflect some of the areas in which Renault fell short last year with a car that was sensitive to track characteristics and proved difficult to develop.

Renault Sport president Jerome Stoll said: “We aim to recapture the positive momentum from our first three years since returning to Formula 1 while preparing for next season, which will represent a new cycle for all teams.”

On the driver front, Australian Daniel Ricciardo continues for a second season and is joined by Frenchman Esteban Ocon, the former Force India driver back in the sport after a year as Mercedes reserve.

Ricciardo said: “I’m looking forward to blending into the team better on the back of having a full season behind us – so things are going to be easier in that sense. I learnt a lot about myself and obviously a lot about the team.”

Ocon added: “It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to test the new car in Barcelona.

“We’ve had a lot of time to prepare, and I’m feeling ready for the challenge. I’m really looking forward to racing again – back where I want to be – after waiting for a year.

“There are a lot of new items on this year’s car and the guys have been working hard to find some additional performance.

“It’s all about details in Formula 1 and I’ve seen quite a lot of details on the Renault RS20.

“It’s exciting to see the design but the next thing you want is to be behind the wheel and feeling what it’s like.”

This article is from the BBC Sport website / bbc.co.uk - Renault need to regain confidence, says team boss

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