"If I look at our capacity to engineer, to develop, design and manufacture, it is an acceleration everywhere. The gains that we will be making on the engine are much bigger than we have ever done in a winter – much bigger – and the gains that we are currently doing in the wind tunnel are much bigger than we have ever done" motorsport.com reports.
Even with a big step ahead on the engine side and despite its ambition, it's hard for Abiteboul to fully understand the actual level of the French squad because of the new 2019 regulation changes that will lead to new aerodynamics with simplified front and rear wings.
"We have to be careful on the wind tunnel side, the aero side, as there is a big change of regulation. You all know that when it happens there is a big reset: you lose downforce and you quickly catch up. So it is difficult to make a distinction between what is coming from the regulations and what is coming from the effect of the restructure".
Abiteboul's words must be motivating for Daniel Ricciardo: the Aussie took a gamble as he unexpectedly joined Renault for season 2019, hoping for the team to close the gap with the top teams during the winter, as the lack of performance didn't allow Hulkenberg and Sainz to take a single podium finish last year. Whether "The Honey Badger" will decide to stay after its first season with Renault or not, it will depend on how quick the new car will be.
"There is stability of the organisation, there are new people and new faces that have finally joined us, and who understand the organisation, and are now working efficiently. So now it is positive, even if the challenge is huge", said Abiteboul.