Renault has dismissed talk that it is trying to lure Adrian Newey away from Formula 1 rivals Red Bull, despite speculation over recent weeks that the French manufacturer was interested in the design genius.
While Newey still has another year to run on his contract at Red Bull, rumours that emerged around the time of the Monaco Grand Prix suggested that Renault chiefs were considering an attempt to poach him.
But Renault F1’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul insists his team is more than happy with its current technical line-up, and does not sense that Newey will do anything but commit even longer to stay where he is.
When asked by Motorsport.com if Renault was really interested in Newey, Abiteboul delivered a clear: “No.”
He added: “Massive respect to Adrian for what he’s done and keeps doing. I don’t feel like he’s going to be contractless, I rather feel like he’s extremely committed to Red Bull and Aston Martin on a number of projects, on the one hand.
“On the other hand, we’ve got a strong, established structure that I fully trust. Bob [Bell], Marcin Budkowski who joined us and is taking up the global management of Enstone, Nick Chester, Rob White on Enstone operations. That’s it, I think we’ve got the right structure to do the job, by far. Now, we need to make it work.”
Renault has undergone a massive restructuring in the past three years in the wake of the French car manufacturer’s return to F1 as a works team.
Staff levels have increased from less than 475 to around 650, and Abiteboul thinks that getting its structure working as best as possible is now key to it making progress on track.
“It’s a lot of work to organise these recruitments – it’s not just financial means,” he said. “You have to take care of it, identify where needs are, post advertisements, hire people, choose them, integrate them, make sure the group keeps working well together. It’s a huge task.
“I often explain that it’s part of what we have to do now, besides everything we have to do on track, as it’s not just a phrase, it’s reality.
“We spend a lot of time building the team at the moment. It was Bob Bell’s goal in particular, he was somewhat away from the day-to-day work, from chassis design, which really is Nick Chester’s responsibility.
“Anyway, in late 2018, we’ll reach the end of that initial three-year plan from 2016 to 2018. We’ll be in line with our goals building the team and our sporting goals.
“Now, I’m perfectly aware that we’re still a second off the top teams’ pace. The question we need to ask is: what’s the plan for the next three years, from 2019 to 2021, so that in 2021, we’re on target to fight for the championship?”