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Abiteboul: 2021 engine consensus a "struggle"

NEWS STORY
25/04/2017

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul admits the sport faces a "struggle" if it is to agree a 2021 engine formula acceptable to all.

Fact is, the powers-that-be are aware of what is wrong with the current formula but are struggling to find a new formula that will please the manufacturers, the teams, FOM, maintain the sport's increasingly green drive yet please the fans.

FIA president Jean Todt has already ruled out a return to the V10, V8 or V-anything formulas of the past, insisting that anything other than building on the current hybrid platform would not be accepted by society.

Consequently, according to Abiteboul, whose company was one of the main driving forces behind the hybrid formula, insisting it would leave the sport unless the move was made, admits that finding a solution acceptable to everyone is not going to be easy.

"You need to satisfy car makers who are financing the sport in the current model," he told Motorsport.com. "Maybe a different model could be found where car makers are not so important for the business model of the sport, but it's not currently the case. You need also to satisfy the fans, you need to satisfy the customer teams, so that question is not an easy one to resolve.

"I think there can be some consensus found on the diagnosis," he continued, "what's good, and what's bad with the current formula.

"I think a solution will be more difficult to find, not just because of political reasons, or because of competitive advantage, although there will always be a little bit of that with people that are currently at the top who will try to protect the advantage that they built, and that's fair enough.

"Apart from that I think what will be a struggle for the group will be to find the right answer to a diagnosis which I think is well shared between the teams, the FIA and Liberty.

"Electrification is never going to go away," he insisted, "that's for sure, so we need electrification, we need hybrid. We need possibly more in the mix between ICE and hybrid, but, having said that, we cannot do that to the detriment of the show. We need noise, we need F1 to be blasting for the fans, and we don't deliver that at the moment."

Another element is cost, with Red Bull having made clear that unless it can source a competitive engine at less than ten million it will (once again) consider leaving F1.

"Without going into technical details, and again all the analysis is shared by everyone, it's also too expensive for the car makers, it's too expensive for the customers. So a budget cap will help, all of that we agree.

"But where do we go next? That will be the challenge," he admits, "but it's a challenge that is a common challenge. So with a common challenge I'm hopeful that with all the brains that we have in this paddock, we'll be able to find solutions."

At which point, bearing in mind that along with those brains come egos and self-interest, the expression 'don't bet on it' springs to mind.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Hardliner, 28/04/2017 8:32

"When it comes to being a good source of conspiracy theories, the CIA, Building 7, Apollo landings and JFK are mere minnows compared to the Great White Ecclestone shark. I have tended to assume that he has left one or more time bombs in the business that he sold to Liberty - are we just about to see the first one go off? This from today's BBC headlines:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/39742549
Not the first time that a bureaucrat/politician has challenged the sale and associated agreements; as I recall another MP or MEP has already filed a similar complaint with Brussels?
Notice how the Great White immediately ducks any responsibility 'call Donald McKenzie, not me'. Mark my words, Bernie will have the last word...this Liberty takeover could crumble yet, in more ways than one. Must buy some FOTA2 shares...."

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2. Posted by Natcheztoo, 27/04/2017 17:27

"We - the paying fans of F1 - do not need electrification or hybrids. When it comes to racing, who GIVES A S***! We want to see and hear loud, raucous, fast, hard-to-drive cars. I want to feel the hair standing up on the back of my neck as it when a V10 passed at full speed. My G-d, you didn't just hear the V10 sound, you wore it!

How can it be that a premier competitive sport can be at the mercy of people who abjectly pay no attention to the paying fans. Survey after survey have proven what the fans want. Now, give it to them!

Why try to make a spectator spectacle sport into something relevant to tooling down some French road in an f****** electric or hybrid car.

Sorry for the hint of unacceptable words, but I am outraged at what F1 is becoming, and since nobody seems to have listened for the past ten years, I have to resort to shouting.

Natcheztoo"

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3. Posted by Hardliner, 26/04/2017 10:33

"As I said, Mr Todt is superfluous to F1...and here are his wonderful recent achievements:
Drivers' names and numbers will be made clearer on all cars from the Spanish Grand Prix on 12-14 May. SO WHAT, WHO CARES, WE USE THEIR HELMETS AS ID
Teams currently not on the strategy group - which has until now been restricted to Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams, McLaren and Force India - will be invited WRONG DECISION, SHOULD BE NO TEAMS ON STRATEGY GROUP, THEY CANT AGREE WHICH DAY OF THE WEEK IT IS, SO NOTHING CHANGES
Controversial shark fins and so-called T-wings that have appeared on cars this season will be banned from 2018 YAWN
Next year, any race that is stopped with a red-flag period will be resumed from a standing start BOUND TO LEAD TO UNCERTAINTY AND MORE RULES. BUREAUCRATS LOVES RULES...
Measures will be taken to ensure that oil will not be used as fuel in 2018 FINE, BUT HARDLY THE SORT OF MODEST ACHIEVEMENT THAT WILL REVERSE THE TENS OF MILLIONS OF VIEWERS BEING LOST

Please just GO, Mr Todt, preferably today, and let's have a leader in charge of our sport rather than an appeasing bureaucrat"

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4. Posted by sumpnz, 25/04/2017 20:53

"Rather than continue with trying to find ways to contain costs just admit that the big teams will remain big teams and will just find a way to spend money to stay in the big team league.

Rather than come up with some single engine formula that pleases all the manufacturers, forget about controlling/dictating engine parameters (displacement, V-angles, hybrid crap, etc.) and just specify the amount of energy the car can contain at the start of the race. Use KWh if you want to be all Euro-metric, or BTU's if you want to be old-school British/American. Let the teams decide if the weight penalty of hybrid systems is worth the performance and fuel efficiency gains. Let the teams decide the displacement and configuration of their engine. Let the teams decide how much, if any, electrical energy they'll use, and whether that comes from batteries charged before the race, from waste energy capture or both.

Just free up the teams to figure out the fastest way to complete a Grand Prix distance and stop trying to micromanage the process. If they get to spend $300million on powertrain development, great. That will benefit "society" far more than $300million spent on how to get another half a second out their aero package.

Then, if the cars start to get to being "too fast" you don't have to monkey around with a ton of engine regulation changes. Just cut the allowed energy content of the cars. Eventually they'll claw the performance back, but that will require advances in energy efficiency. That tech will then really be relevant to road cars."

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 25/04/2017 16:33

"The current PU is NOT the problem its a symptom.
By all means switch to V8/V10/12/24 (whatever). With no other changes today's dull, processional races will simply be replaced by dull, processional noisy ones.... If you want noisy go to IndyCar: crude, fast & exciting, but F1 it ain't.

Despite RBR's constant whining about the cost of motors, the biggest costs (in terms of ££'s per 0.1 sec gained) are in aerodynamics. Stick a Cossie V8 in the back of today's cars and Mercedes, RBR, Renault, FIAT et al would still be spending £200Million + per year. "

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6. Posted by Hardliner, 25/04/2017 12:59

"Dear Mr Todt, To paraphrase Mervyn Peake, your presence in the sport is like a subtraction. The fan base is dwindling rapidly. The cars are very complex. Liberty Media want to suck endless money out to justify their investment. The gap is made up by the car manufacturers, who are contributing rather a lot for any imaginary returns they think they are getting, and who have in the past proved to be fickle friends. The solution is simple. Abandon the present complex cow-fart engines and revert to simple v8, v10 and v12. Fans will flock back. Engine costs will plummet. The sport will become more self-sustaining, not dependant on car manufacturers who will all leave anyway once they've got what they want out of the hybrid technology. Those trendy souls who prefer Scalextric can follow Formula E, which by the way uses almost exactly the same amount of hydrocarbon fuel each weekend in setting up a race, but 'looks' green [the diesel-electric generators are nicely hidden, no doubt]. Look how successful Formula E has been [not]. It must be hard for a proud Frenchman to hear this, M Todt, but you are so wrong about F1. So man-up and bin the techno-crap, lets have proper racing cars once more, in order than drivers and not engineers can win races"

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