Since the new power unit regulations were introduced in 2014, Renault has struggled relative to Mercedes and only won three races with Red Bull that year. A lack of progress a year later resulted in a winless season and led to a breakdown in the relationship with Red Bull, leading Toro Rosso to sign a deal to use year-old Ferrari engines.
Red Bull eventually committed to a further year with Renault - who also returned as a full constructor itself - and progress in 2016 has seen new deals signed which Abiteboul says is vindication of the steps made.
“One of our most tangible successes in 2016 has been the performance and reliability improvements of our power unit and the confirmation of long-term supply contracts with both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso is the strongest illustration of this improvement,” Abiteboul said.
And Abiteboul says Renault's reputation has been increasing as it has also seen improvements in the results delivered by its partners this year.
“2016 was a year to rebuild relations, re-energise both Enstone and Viry and create synergies within the Renault Sport Racing group and the wider Renault-Nissan Alliance. Our return to Formula 1 was part of a larger strategy for the Renault Sport brand to highlight to a global audience all the evolution of Renault’s corporate profile in so many key markets.
“We pay particular thanks to Infiniti who as well as being a partner are also a family member in the Renault-Nissan Alliance. They have used their expertise in hybrid technology and make a genuine contribution to the new generation of Energy Recovery System (ERS) used in the team’s power units.
“Also a big thanks to Total for the quality and the performance of its fuel and lubricant products which have facilitated the top level of engine performance we have seen."
The last mention is a pertinent one, with Red Bull switching from Total to ExxonMobil in 2017.