Abiteboul: Yesterday's recipe no longer works for F1

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault F1
© XPB 

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says that Formula 1 needs urgent change if it is to continue to survive and thrive in the 21st century.

He added that the focus had to be on increased competition rather than focussing on technology in the future.

"It cannot be that we already know the name of the world champion before the season," he told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport this week.

"That is not healthy and serves no one," he insisted. "It cannot go on like this.

"The perception in the public has changed. The recipe of yesteryear no longer works in a world that constantly changes.

"We need to work closely with [Formula 1's new owners] Liberty Media," he continued. "But also with Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and so forth to make changes.

"The focus must be on sport, not technology," he added. "But we must do so without damaging the DNA of Formula 1."

Abiteboul's comments are a tacit admission that Mercedes will likely once again have the edge in the 2018 world championship in terms of engine power. By comparison, Renault will make a more cautious start to the season.

"We are starting with a conservative approach," he confirmed. "The focus is on reliability, which is important because we have a completely different car with a new gearbox, suspension and so on. A huge jump.

"We improved from ninth place to sixth last year, so we need to continue.

"[So far] we are on course for our goals in terms of reliability and performance," he said. "But that's just a starting point."

Renault and its customer teams Red Bull and McLaren will all have the same specification of engines this season. However, Abiteboul admitted that this might change in the future.

"We consider Red Bull and McLaren as partners, not customers," he said. "We guarantee that everyone is treated the same.

"But this is something we could think about when it comes to the new engine generation for 2021."

Long before that, Renault could part ways with Red Bull as early as the end of this season. But Abiteboul said that no firm decision had yet been made on that score.

"There wasn't a season without intensive discussions with them, and yet we are together 12 years later," he pointed out. "I am not saying that we will be in 2019 as well, but we want clarity on that cooperation as soon as possible."

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