Jérôme Stoll: Next step for Renault is the podium

Jérôme Stoll, who departs his post as President of Renault Sport Racing on 31 December 2018, admitted that his organisation underestimate the state of the Genii-owned Lotus team they bought to return to Formula 1 as a works outfit, but at the same time believes that podiums are on the cards next year for the French team.

In an interview with Auto Hebdo, Stoll said, “We greatly underestimated the state in which the team was in and how much needed to be done to recover it. Many people had left, very little investment had been made, etc. We knew it was going to be difficult but we ended up in a much more complicated situation than we expected.

This year the reward for the work and commitment, plus a couple of handy drivers in their cars, they finished fourth in the Formula 1 World Championship constructors’ standings.

The French outfit – with an impressive pedigree in Formula 1 – are clearly on the up again, a fact which Stoll attributes to Cyril Abiteboul who has been at the helm since Renault returned to the top flight as an entrant in 2016.

Stoll continued, “Today, thanks to Cyril, who has been able to give the impetus, we are a team with a very special identity and it is something that makes me proud.”

“Ninth in 2016, sixth last year and fourth this year, a first season with all the foundations in place. The next step for Renault is the podium,” he predicted.

Abiteboul can also be credited for his shrewd signing of Daniel Ricciardo, from Red Bull, in a big-bucks two-year deal to partner Nico Hulkenberg and spearhead their effort next season. Renault’s intent very clear.

Furthermore, with the load of supplying engines to Red Bull now shouldered by Honda, the French manufacturer will focus on supplying power units to only two teams: McLaren and, of course, their own effort.