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Abiteboul: It's been harder than we anticipated

NEWS STORY
28/09/2016

Even allowing for the eleventh-hour purchase of the Lotus operation, Renault's return to F1 in its own right has hardly set the sport alight.

With just six races remaining the French manufacturer has seven points to its name, and while the team took every effort to play down hopes this season, it never expected to lag behind newcomers Haas.

"It's fair to say this season has been much more difficult than we anticipated," team boss Abiteboul told Autosport, "and to a certain degree another demonstration of the pace at which Formula 1 is evolving.

"The car we are using is not from this year," he continued, "but more or less designed in the winter of 2014-15, to which we added at the last moment the forced introduction of the Renault engine.

"So clearly it wasn't the best gestation you could imagine, but still we could not imagine that in eighteen months there would be such a gap from this car to the others.

"Maybe we were a bit naive, but that's behind us now," he insisted. "What's important is to keep our head down on a race-by-race basis and be optimistic and bullish about next year to try and keep the motivation high for the two teams (Enstone and Viry), and to continue to point in the right direction.

"Regarding the target for the end of this year, I would like to be able to fight for eighth position in the championship, which is the only position we can target," he said of the spot currently occupied by the American newcomers. "In my opinion that is going to be a tough challenge because clearly we can see the Haas package, is more competitive now than the Renault package. I don't see how we are going to secure enough points to be able to do that, but it can only be the target, so that will remain the target."

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