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Renault calls for engine regulation change to be brought forward


While the much-anticipated change to the aero and chassis rules comes in in 2022 - having been deferred from 2021 due to the pandemic - the rules pertaining to engines are not due to be overhauled until 2026.

However, in the wake of Honda's decision to leave F1 at the end of next year, citing its desire to focus on electric vehicles, Renault - the driving force behind the introduction of the hybrid formula in 2014 - believes the overhaul of the engine regulations must be brought forward.

"I want to be very clear that we take no satisfaction in the Honda situation," Renault boss, Cyril Abiteboul tells Autosport. "We need to call it the way it is," he continues, "it's not a positive development for F1.

"We want an F1 with car makers, with OEMs, with engine suppliers, and being down to three engine manufacturers is not a positive development.

"We need to draw some clear conclusions from this situation, and it's something I've been urging the governing body to look at more carefully.

"The engine situation is simply unsustainable," he insists. "In particular from an economic perspective, but also from a technology perspective. I am not sure we can afford this perception. Either we're capable of changing this perception of the current engine architecture, or probably we need to fast track the adoption of a new architecture, so that we get in a better place in terms of perception again.

"I would expect that this development triggers some harder thinking about the scheduling of the next generation of power trains."

Returning to F1 a year after the hybrid formula was introduced, the Japanese manufacturer was always playing catch-up, and while it has recovered from those disastrous initial seasons with McLaren, due to the strict rules preventing serious development this essentially remains the case.

Abiteboul believes that Honda's experience, having invested vast sums of money for little competitive gain, will scare off potential manufacturers from entering the sport.

"The entry ticket is so high in terms of costs, but also in terms of technology," he says. "Even if you spend an awful lot it's going to take you a while before you get there. We've seen a demonstration of that, although obviously now we're feeling a bit better.

"But you could be standing on an island and saying it's all good and fine because we've crossed the sea, but that sea is simply too wide and too hard for the sustainability of F1.

"We need to have more people on that island where we are right now," he admits. "So we need to do something, we need to think harder about the environmental sustainability of the engine, about the economic sustainability of the engine.

"There has been a bit that has been done, but it's not enough," he warns. "We need to be harder on that.

"Just like we've done a lot on the chassis side in the last few months, we need to hit very hard on the engine side if we don't want F1 to be hurt on this aspect."


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1. Posted by TokyoAussie, 08/10/2020 4:20

"Perhaps his statements would make more sense in French."

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2. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 07/10/2020 22:51

"Honda's problem was less that it had an uncompetitive PU at the beginning, and the cost was, while not trivial, also not the major problem. The real problem was the bar on development and testing during the season. Dyno's are not the same as the race track when it comes to engine development. If it was they'd have been competitive MUCH sooner.

I can just about guarantee that if development and on track testing hadn't been so constrained they would have caught up within by the end of their second season back in F1. Third season worst case. Even with the increased pace of development from Merc, Ferrari and Renault that would have occurred simultaneously.

Honda would have rather spent twice as much but been fighting for wins after a couple seasons rather than scraping for the odd points finish 3 years in, and this year only managing podiums thanks luck (Gasly's win) and to having Verstappen driving one of the 4 Honda powered cars."

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3. Posted by findus, 07/10/2020 22:45

"F1 is about the future. Please don't make it an anachronism like Nascar and horse racing.
With the V6 hybrids they picked the wrong future. Pick the right future this time, with rules to make awesome, close electric racing. I want to be blown away by a 2000HP electric race car. "

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4. Posted by Rock Doc, 07/10/2020 20:57

"Abiteboul is right. It's crunch time for F1 if it wants a future. The Honda Experiment has clearly demonstrated that it is possible to compete but it takes time and LOTS of money. And for what?

Amazing as these engines are we all know that this is not the future of automotive engines. Like it or not the electric car will be everywhere soon. Full electric motors not these wonderful hybrids. This is just a footnote in the history of cars.

Lets face it F1 is not a green sport. Even if you make the cars green the sport still has a massive carbon foot print. I say let's embrace the combustion engine. Make it F1 again. Everyone else can do the green stuff but F1 needs and should be about the raw power again.

As everyone else is humming along in their new electric cars F1 stands alone as the beast it should be."

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5. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 07/10/2020 18:50

"While the current PU are a reliable, technological marvel, they are too complicated to be manufactured at a price point for the manufacturers to make and the customer teams to buy.
Also, I'll wager that there is many an F1 fan that follows the sport closely that struggles to understand how the hell the power units work during a race.
The casual fan just wants close racing, spectacular passes and injury free crashes, they don't care about what powers the cars so long as the cars are fast and loud.
As for relevance to the cars we drive, well, unless one gets a hyper-car then there isn't a lot of relevance, PU or chassis.
In an odd way, Fiat has kind of poven that marketing is key.
Alfa Romeo is stuck on the side of Sauber and my guess is that most people that watch F1 now and then will assume that the engine is made by Alfa, which of course it isn't.
Thinking back to the time when Ford Cosworth DFV was in all but the Ferrari, we had Tyrrell, Lotus, Williams, McLaren all winning races and titles too so it is completely fine to have a few manufacturers in the sport.
Somehow F1 needs to simplify the rules so that engines can be built to a specification (say capacity) in any configuration that the engineers see fit or stipulate the configuration to something like a 2.4l twin turbo V6 and refueling.
How could Honda walk away from something like that? Indeed, GM / Chevy could also enter F1.

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6. Posted by Lakota, 07/10/2020 16:54

"bring back normally aspirated V-10s . You would have more engine suppliers than you need "

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