Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul believes a profitable future awaits Renault in F1 following the upcoming transformation of the sport’s business model.
Renault’s return to Grand Prix racing as a works outfit in 2016 was to follow a five-year plan rubber-stamped by former chief executive Carlos Ghosn to position the French manufacturer among the sport’s front-runners.
The former championship winning outfit has been running behind schedule in the past few seasons and its future in F1 was called into question at the start of the season following the automotive group’s management changes and falling revenues.
However, the current coronavirus crisis has weakened even more Renault’s financial health, leading to the prospect of a 5 billion euro bailout by the French government, conditional upon a series of commitments destined to streamline the manufacturer’s operations.
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But Abiteboul is confident that Renault will remain at the pinnacle of motorsport – although there are no guarantees that this will be the case. Nevertheless, F1’s upcoming changes and revamped economics, as represented by next year’s lowered budget cap, bode well for Renault staying the course.
“It’s a major crisis, so it’s difficult to assume now what will be really the (global economic) effect,” Abiteboul told Autosport.
“But all the things that are happening: better money distribution from prize fund, lower budget cap.. much lower than it was and we’ve been pushing for years for this type of figures, so frankly.. will probably be very good for us. Very close to the level at which we’ve been operating.
“It’s a much better business model in my opinion. If the condition was good enough for a number of manufacturers to join the sport in the past, they will be even better tomorrow.
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“We’ve been able to push for containing the crazy development race on the engine, and it’s really insane what we’ve been spending on the engine, and finally that’s going to change.
“Our voice has finally been heard as maybe a voice that is representing common sense.
“All of that is pointing in the right direction for those who are already in the sport, I have a firm belief into that.”
Beyond the economic and regulation changes that shall hopefully level the playing field in the future and cater to the interests of the sport’s midfield contenders, including Renault, Abiteboul references an even more important reason for the French company to remain on the grid: its historic link with F1.
“We’ve been in Formula 1 since the ’70s,” Abiteboul explained. “We’ve been loyal to Formula 1 and clearly as we look forward I think it’s important to stay true to your roots, to where you’re coming from, to your history, not just because of loyalty but also because it means something in the narrative that you can appeal to today’s and tomorrow’s customers.