Ricciardo’s 2020 F1 car ‘in bits’
RENAULT have declared intent to rediscover their Formula 1 momentum in 2020 as they launched their season, minus the new RS20 car, in Paris.
But the absence of their new challenger at the event on the Champs-Elysees was of no significance according to team boss Cyril Abiteboul, who said he did not want to present "fake cars" before they were finished.
Instead, Renault revealed digital teases of the RS20 ahead of its debut at Barcelona testing next week - when it will run in a special winter livery in the hands of Daniel Ricciardo and new French signing Esteban Ocon.
In an apparent broadside at rivals' unveilings, Abiteboul told Sky Sports: "I'm a bit frustrated of seeing comments of people on social media trying to interpret cars that are not the actual car.
"There is no way that we can have a car here because the car frankly is still in bits, still being produced or being shipped to Barcelona.
"I don't want to play dumb with people, I think people deserve reality, and they don't deserve fake information - or fake cars. So I don't want to present fake cars. So no car, renders of the car, some glimpses of the livery and for the actual car you'll see it in action in Barcelona next week."
WHAT ARE RENAULT'S GOALS FOR F1 2020?
Renault are facing a pivotal year in 2020 after taking a step back last season, when they were hoping to close up on F1's 'big three' but instead dropped to fifth behind McLaren.
It was somewhat of a surprise considering they had Ricciardo, lured over from Red Bull, in the car.
But the Australian, starting the second season of his two-year deal, said he was "very confident" he will deliver a podium for Renault in F1 2020.
"Drivers' titles are hopefully around the corner soon but it's still too soon, in this project at least," said Ricciardo, who is competing in his 10th season of F1.
"When I signed the contract with Renault I did see a podium on there. I did believe in this two-year window there would be, so I'm still very confident and optimistic we'll have a chance to get one this year.
"I am confident it's going to be better than last year but I don't want to jump the gun. We're going to be realistic, I think the target immediately is to get back into fourth, stand out in the midfield.
"I'm just looking forward to going racing and getting everything better than it was last year which I know it can be on a personal level and a team level."
Abiteboul too is expecting a more competitive campaign from the Enstone outfit, although is wary of setting overly-ambitious short-term goals.
"We have all the reasons to believe it offers much more potential than the car we had last year," he said.
"We think it is better in the medium to long term to set realistic targets. We should have avoided to put a timeline on it. That doesn't mean we don't have targets, we want some we can deliver. And P4 is a good target because frankly we expect McLaren to be quick.
"They will have a good engine and chassis, and they will be a tough team to beat. But we are up for it."