F1 2019 French Grand Prix: Abiteboul Buoyant Ahead of Home Race
Renault drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo share their thoughts on the challenges of Circuit Paul Ricard, while Cyril Abiteboul and Engine Technical Director Rémi Taffin give the latest on the team and on the 2019 package.
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“We enter the French Grand Prix on the back of a strong team result in Canada. We demonstrated our ability to recover from a disappointing start to the season in a controlled and professional manner. The execution of the weekend was good with Daniel and Nico delivering strongly in both qualifying and race. The result, and the manner in which we achieved it, should give us the confidence and motivation to push on through a demanding period of races with five Grands Prix before the summer break.
“France is clearly an important milestone. Not only is it our home Grand Prix at Le Castellet, but also the opportunity to demonstrate a further improvement in our competitiveness. While Canada, a power sensitive circuit, underlined the gains made in engine performance, France will see the introduction of several development items on the chassis. One thing is clear: we cannot dwell on Montréal and to aim for a repeat of that result and keep striving to reduce the gap to the front.”
Rémi Taffin, Engine Technical Director
“There’s a very good feeling in the team, especially after Montréal. Staff members enjoyed that race – maybe for the first time this season. That’s a real boost for the team heading into our home race. When you race at home, you can feel the warmth of the people and their energy and pride. At the same time, it also gives you an extra motivation to deliver, albeit with a bit of added pressure.”
“I’ve driven a lot of laps there in the past in different machinery, including last year for my first French Grand Prix. The circuit has a nice flow to it and the characteristics are maybe quite similar to the last round in Montréal with long straights, high top-speeds and big braking zones at the end of them. Sector one is quite tight and there was some excitement at Turn 1 on race day last year. Sector two brings a long straight into a sharp chicane and then sector three begins with the very fast run through Signes, which is a lot of fun, and a flowing complex of turns to the start-finish straight.”
“I’m really looking forward to embracing the French atmosphere and hopefully doing the team proud. I know it’s a significant race for them and how much it means to everyone involved. The target for France has to be repeating the form of Canada. The team had good pace at Paul Ricard last year, so there’s certainly a good feeling there. We have some upgrades, which should mean the start of a trend of our true pace. It’s coming along well and, as the car gets better, I’m also growing in confidence and I’ll keep getting better with it.”