Renault is targeting podiums with the R.S.19 this season after launching its 2019 car and livery.
A similar livery to 2018 was unveiled at the team’s updated headquarters at Enstone. Having finished fourth in the constructors’ championship last season — improving from ninth in 2016 and sixth the following campaign — Renault Sport Racing president Jerome Stoll says the next target is to challenge the top three teams for podiums this year.
“If I have one thing to share with you it is for you to get convinced that we are a real contender for the podium, and this is our ambition,” Stoll said during the launch at Enstone. “We were champions in 2005 and 2006, obviously we did not return to this competition just to play like the others. We want to be a real contender for the podium. Obviously it takes time.”
Stoll’s comments were echoed by managing director Cyril Abiteboul, who says Renault is now in a position to deliver performance for drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo after a number of rebuilding years.
“If we decided to get all of you here today it’s really because we feel ready,” Abiteboul said. “We feel it’s the right time to show you all that has been going on in the background over the last three years and that we’re really proud of.
“The regeneration has paid a dividend: P9, P6, P4 — we all know the progression. We don’t want to stop here, it’s not enough, we want to fight for more. We know that it will take a bit of time, so what will happen next?
“2019 has to be the year of consolidation of that progression. We want to reduce the gap to the frontrunners. How do we do that? Simple. We already know we have the drivers, and then the next stage is we want to target engine excellency as we will need a bit of time to produce a race-winning chassis.”
Renault’s chassis technical director Nick Chester says that while resources are now in place to deliver a car capable of challenging at the front, it would be unrealistic to target wins in 2019.
“I’d love to have a race-winning chassis this year, but even with the infrastructure in place it takes quite a long time to develop the technology into the car,” Chester said. “That’s what we’re aiming to do. Now that we have got the infrastructure we can take more technical risk, that means we can do more development projects and that’s how we get the bigger steps and that’s going to help push us towards the front.”