Hyundai’s new motorsport boss Cyril Abiteboul has ruled out entering Formula 1, saying winning rallies is the company’s “priority right now”.
After much speculation, Hyundai announced earlier last week that former Renault managing director Abiteboul had joined Hyundai Motorsport as it’s new team principal.
The announcement came just days before the 2023 World Rally Championship kicked off in Monaco.
But given his background in Formula 1, the Frenchman, formerly the team boss at Caterham before moving to Renault, has already been asked if the next step for Hyundai is a spot on the Formula 1 grid.
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“There is no particular plan,” he said as per Autosport.
“Clearly, Hyundai is a company that is hot for a fantastic development at a global scale, with a new product line-up, a unique range and so on and so forth. And motorsport is here to support the business.
“So I need to understand, with the rest of the company, what the business needs, and how we can support it right now.
“Rally has been the best solution in order to support small segment cars, segment A. We need also to see how segment A is going to move, moving ahead, and make sure that rally remains relevant to that.
“That certainly is the priority right now. We are getting ready. We must win and make sure that rally keeps on serving the interests of the business.”
He, however, concedes it is a case of never say never.
“I don’t want to say yes, because then you’re going to elaborate that Hyundai is going to F1,” he said. “I want to go back to my previous answer.
“We need to make sure it serves the business. Right now, rally is serving the business, and the priority is to make sure that it stays like that, working with the FIA and the promoters.
“If we need to do something else, in addition, we will see it in due course. But that’s not the priority for now. The priority is winning in rally.”