Abiteboul: 2021 engine consensus a "struggle"

25/04/2017
NEWS STORY

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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Published: 25/04/2017
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