Abiteboul: F1 must escape two-tier system

Michelle Foster
Renault DP World PA

Renault DP World PA

Missing out on podiums in 2019 and uncertain whether this year will bring champagne joy, Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says his team will not be able to “hide forever”.

Renault returned to Formula 1 as a works team in 2016, billing that as a year of building foundations. So too, as it turned out, were 2017 and 2018.

Last year, though, the team had hoped to be chasing podium finishes only to fall short with a best result of fourth at the Italian Grand Prix.

It was a disappointing campaign for Renault, who were fifth overall.

This year Formula 1 is shrouded in uncertainty as the 2020 championship has yet to get underway and there’s no telling when it might.

This has forced the teams to delay the 2021 overhaul of the technical regulations to 2022, giving the teams a bit of financial breathing space.

However, one team boss who is very much looking forward to the new regulations is Abiteboul.

“We need to move away from the two-tier system,” he said in a recent interview with Autocar.

“On one side, we’re doing an excellent job with new marketing initiatives such as Netflix and F1 city festivals, but if we really want to capture this new audience, we need to have a sport that’s much more competitive than the one we have now.

“What I really like about the [2022] regulations is that, for the first time, we have defined them for the show, rather than having a show that is a consequence of a set of regulations.”

With all the teams starting from scratch with their 2022 cars, Abiteboul acknowledges that Renault has to step up to the plate.

“For sure, we will not be able to hide forever,” he said.

“The expectation has to be realistic and reasonable.

“But yes, [in 2022] we can’t hide if we aren’t capable of fighting for podiums.

“We don’t expect to dominate, but fighting for podiums is the target.”

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