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Renault's Abiteboul against F1 and Formula E 'convergence'

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Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul believes that Formula 1 and Formula E must remain distinct in their identities.

When it ushered in the era of the hybrid power unit in 2015, Formula 1's aspiration was to  incorporate a semblance of road car relevance.

But the natural development of such a philosophy could lead the pinnacle of motorsport to adopt an electric engine, a technology at the forefront of the burgeoning Formula E series' ambitions.

Abiteboul believes the categories must remain distinct on the technical level however, or the risk could emerge of one or the other becoming obsolete.

"It is a very difficult balancing exercise and you need to look at F1, obviously, in its wider context of FE and endurance racing,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

"We need to make sure that every single category stands out for something very clear – and [that] there is a clear USP [unique selling point] for a manufacturer to go in one versus another.

"In Renault we are in a particular position to be at the same time in F1 and FE. We see the huge difference between the two formulas.

"What I feel would not be good is if everything was converging in one direction - because then there is no point in having different formulas, so that would not be sustainable."

Current F1 engine regulations will remain in force until 2020, with Ross Brawn, Formula 1's new managing director of sport, tasked with the mission of redefining the sport's future engine platform.

But FIA president Jean Todt has already warned that a return to a more simplified, less eco-friendly technology would likely drive manufacturers away from the sport.

Abiteboul argues however that Renault is keeping an open mind about the future while underlining the need for F1 to remain cost-effective.

"The financial equation needs to stack up but we don’t have, as I speak today, one strong opinion about an engine architecture over another," he said.

"Going backwards could be difficult but we are open-minded so I don’t want to start making threats."

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