Renault has often been challenging for “best of the rest” honours, but the team has also had poor weekends such as Austria, where it was off the pace.
Experiments with set-ups at Silverstone, where Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg took different routes early in the weekend, helped the team to clarify what areas it has to improve with the RS19.
“It’s very clear where we are competitive, it’s very clear where we are not competitive,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
“We need certain tracks where on balance it’s going to be OK, like Silverstone, Montreal or Paul Ricard. Certain tracks it will not be OK.
“That’s why we need to come with fixes. It’s not just fixes, it’s big changes to the car. We understand the problems, the problems are visible and clear.
“But fixing those problems will take a bit of time. If we really want to alleviate our problems we need to make substantial changes.
“For the time being we’ll be struggling in certain characteristics of corners. We were struggling in Austria, we were completely passengers of that situation.”
Abiteboul says the British GP helped to confirm that the car is strong in most areas except medium speed corners.
“We think the situation is clear. Our car can be extremely decent in a number of conditions, it can be very decent on the straights, it can be very strong in low speed corners.
“We were almost the most competitive car of all in Sector One in qualifying, and in a repeated manner, which says something, in a track like Silverstone.
“We were OK in sector three and Turn 16. So straights, low speed corners, high speed corners, all of that is pretty good. It’s really the medium speed corners, particularly where they are long and they are lasting for a lot, that’s where the characteristics and the balance of the car are hurting us.
“There is good news and bad news. The bad news is it’s a clear weakness that can cost a lot of lap time at certain tracks, as was the case in Austria. The good is that it’s one problem well identified, properly understood, it’s just the time it will take to bring the solution.
“Clearly the factory in Enstone and the aero group is tasked to find some solutions, both short term and long term, because not everything will be possible in the short term, let’s be honest. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any improvement in the short term also.”
Abiteboul admitted that there were unlikely to be any significant improvement until after the summer break, and that much of the focus for the rest of the season will be learning for 2020.
“Changes are coming, but not an awful lot will done before the break. I would prefer to have some substantial changes, when that will be possible, and also a long-term plan, including next year, rather than trying to rush something into the next race which is not going to make a difference.
“I’d prefer that there is enough time to bring something and develop something to make a difference for everyone, including the drivers, who will feel the difference, rather than advertising something which won’t make a difference.
“I think it’s going will be neck and neck with McLaren, so it will be interesting.”