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Renault can't use F1 2021 ambitions as excuse for poor 2020 season

Esteban Ocon Renault Abu Dhabi F1 testing 2019

Renault says its high ambitions for the 2021 Formula 1 season must not be used as an excuse if the team has a poor campaign this year.

The 2021 financial and sporting rules overhaul is likely to provide Renault its best opportunity to pull clear of the midfield teams and challenge F1's current 'big three' - Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

But though work is already underway on its 2021 challenger, the team also knows it cannot write off the 2020 season after a disappointing 2020 season, in which Renault slipped to fifth in the constructors' championship behind its customer outfit McLaren.

Speaking to Autosport about whether Renault will have a different mindset this year, its F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: "Frankly, no.

"From a communication perspective, or from an expectation perspective, things will probably be a bit different.

"I think it's a regular winter. But it's also winter that precedes a year that will be a bit challenging, in the way that we need to balance 2021 against 2020.

"Everyone up and down the grid will have that challenge, but I think no team has the same amount of expectation as us for 2021, because all of our strategies are based on that.

"But also the regulations are massively benefiting us. That's why it's it has to be that way.

"But I don't want 2021 to be an excuse for 2020 and for doing a poor season in 2020."

Esteban Ocon Renault Abu Dhabi F1 testing 2019

Abiteboul said the lessons Renault learned from last year should be applicable to both 2021 and, more immediately, the coming season.

"In 2020, we should leverage all the changes that have been done in 2019," he added.

"They should have a positive impact, not just in 2021, but as soon as 2020. That's what I want to see."

Renault will launch its 2020 F1 programme at an event in Paris on February 12.

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