Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the cost of winning in Formula 1 needs to come down in future years if his team is to continue to view the sport as a viable project.
F1’s owners Liberty Media want to impose a cost cap in the future as well as restructure the distribution of funds in order to try and create a more competitive grid, but agreements have yet to be reached beyond the 2020 season. Renault returned to the sport as a full constructor in 2016 and has invested in the team but is still operating on a smaller budget than the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, and Abiteboul says the French manufacturer will not be drawn into matching that level of spend in order to chase wins.
“I don’t want to be moaning about the situation, because when we joined Formula 1 we knew the situation,” Abiteboul said. “What’s quite remarkable is the arms race and the relentless spend in order to win — which I fully respect and I think it has afforded a great racing season this year, so we just need to see how we can emulate [Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull] at some point.
“At some point there will be a different deal on money distribution; at some point there will have to be a limitation of spend because in our opinion it’s just not sustainable and I believe — correct me if I’m wrong — but I believe this is a shared feeling from everyone.
“So then it’s just a timing issue. If the plan is delayed by one year then it’s delayed by one year but I think what matters is the principle that we must be in a position to win races at reasonable cost, given the value of Formula 1. This is the equation that we want… returning to reality in the next few months.”
Renault finished the 2018 season in fourth place in the constructors’ championship but was nearly 300 points adrift of Red Bull in third. The works team has yet to score a podium in the three years since its return to the sport.