|Renault held a launch event with no car, just two tires|
(GMM) Cyril Abiteboul has denied that Renault is behind schedule with its 2020 car.
Heads were scratching this week when team figures and the world's media assembled in Paris for the 'launch' event – but the actual 2020 car was missing.
Boss Abiteboul explained that because the car was being assembled, he did not want to present a "fake" or "show" car to the media instead.
"I am a little frustrated when I see these comments from people who try to interpret on social media a car that does not correspond to the actual car," he said.
"I don't want to fool anyone. People deserve not to get false information presented to them. So we decided not to unveil a fake car."
Some, however, interpreted the absence of an actual car or even an official 2020 livery as a sign either of disorganization or that Renault has fallen behind with its preparations.
"If anything, we are much more on schedule than we were last year. You may remember that I told you back then (in 2019) that we were running late," Abiteboul said.
"That probably influenced our (lack of) reliability in the first races, because when you are late, you can only try to jump on a train that is moving. But this year, we are ahead of our schedule," the Frenchman added.
Renault has made no secret of the fact that it will turn its attention towards 2021 as soon as possible this year. But Abiteboul says that should not be interpreted as news that the 2020 car is basically the same as last year's.
"This year we took a slightly different approach," he admitted. "The rules are stable, which gives us a fantastic opportunity to keep some elements of the (2019) car that do not affect the performance.
"But that doesn't mean that it's the same car as last year – that wouldn't look very good. But we focused on the performance areas and that allows us to put more effort into 2021, so we decided to do it.
"We'll see whether it will work out on Saturday in Melbourne," Abiteboul said.