Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul admits that there won’t be an increase in investment from the French manufacturers’ side into the F1 project despite the issues.
Abiteboul was asked about Renault’s F1 investment, which is less when compared to the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, as to whether there is a scope to increase it with the issues faced by them on track.
The Frenchman admitted that the team underestimated the investments of top teams in the sport, but ruled out an increase, especially with the 2021 contract up in the air and Abiteboul not certain that an increase will help.
He suggests that funding is not a problem for Renault, but it’s the timeline that is restricting them from investing more in the sport, since whatever he puts in now, will not reap rewards until few years down the line.
This could further fuel the talk around its future commitment but for the time being there is no signs of that, especially after the signing of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon and its role in defining 2021 rules.
“The problem with that is a question of timing, because even if you make the decision now, you are not going to be able to spend really more before a few years, because spending more means more people, more designers, more manufacturers, more people in production and so on and so forth,” said Abiteboul, when asked about finances.
“And if you compound that to the fact that there will be a budget cap introduced by 2021, it’s already too late. So no, I think in reality we have no choice but to a certain degree continue with our plan, carry on with our plan. Accept the change, accept the difficulty, not use that as an excuse but be extremely determined on what it takes to be more competitive in 2021.
“Some people will have to manage a reduction of their operation. We will be able to stay exactly where we are or increase slightly because the budget cap is still a chunk higher than what we are operating right now. That’s the reason why we would have liked it to be a bit lower, but we understand that it’s a good compromise and a compromise that should make us more competitive than where we are right now.”
As per him, the current need from the F1 side was to concentrate on three significant aspects – budget cap, money distribution and Governance – to make the sport much better from 2021 onward.
“As far as we’re concerned frankly, we need to focus on three important aspects,” he said. “The budget cap, all the refinements, even though the principle is agreed but we need to get that done and really put in stone. Money distribution, we need something that is more equitable; otherwise, we will end up with the same disparity that we have now.
“And Governance. We are less concerned about the details of the technical and sporting regulations because these things will happen anyway, and we are prepared to increase more power to F1 and FIA that has gone up their team in order to think what’s right for the sport.
“They’ve done a lot of research; they know what’s good for the sport, but we want these three elements to be fixed and agreed as quickly as possible.” It remains to be seen how things shape-up for Renault now.
The story was written by Venkatesh P Koushik and edited by Darshan Chokhani