Renault are struggling to get out of the midfield muddle and really challenge the top 3 teams currently in F1.
With the kind of budgets at the disposal of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, Renault have been finding it difficult to cut down the gap to the top 3 teams.
Cyril Abiteboul has absolutely blasted the concept of the top teams having their own ‘B-teams’ in the sport and how that is impacting the midfield teams like Renault and McLaren. The Renault boss has also highlighted how F1 has turned into an arms race , with the top 3 teams having 1600 employees in their arsenal.
“We now have the operation we decided to have,” Cyril Abiteboul said.
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“What we did not realise back then was that some had begun this crazy arms race, particularly Ferrari and Mercedes. That’s a different sport — a different universe.
“Our plan was to operate at the level of the top teams. But they have continued to grow at almost our pace and with such crazy numbers that we cannot and do not want to go with them,” he added.
Abiteboul predicts that the future of F1 looks bleak, as teams that do not necessarily have a B-team will not be able to win the championship.
Midfield teams will first have to beat B-teams of the top teams before even standing a chance of challenging the top teams.
“Haas created a precedent that is difficult to go back on now,” said Abiteboul.
“For me, there is the before Haas and after Haas eras. It changed formula one, possibly forever. Ten teams has become four or five. That’s something we did not think about in our strategy. Soon, you will not be able to win if you don’t have a B team.
“Before I can beat Ferrari, I first have to beat Haas. And the harder that is, the harder it is to get more prize money or sponsors.
“We see this situation as very serious and it’s not just a problem for Renault, but for anyone who cannot afford this model.
“I don’t know how to stop this arms race, and these satellite teams are a part of that. The FIA must recognise it,” he added.
Abiteboul has actually threatened to quit F1 altogether if the same trend continues and also believes that the new budget regulations will not help in levelling the playing filed.
“We do not want to be a part of a formula one like that.” Abiteboul said.
“Actually it’s the opposite. If you have less money and resources available, one team can concentrate on the aerodynamics and the other on the chassis. It will make these alliances fantastic.
“If you are isolated like us, there is no chance.” he added.
Talking to McLaren and forming an association with them could be an avenue for exploration, as Renault already supply engines to McLaren. However, Abiteboul feels that establishing a master-slave relationship could be difficult in case of Renault and McLaren, as the teams are on an even keel with each other.
But Abiteboul has confirmed that somewhere down the line, Renault and McLaren will need to join hands in order to take the attack to Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.
“Because we are equal teams. Who will be the king and who will be the slave?
“Perhaps we will have to talk to McLaren at some point, but this alliance could never be at the level of Ferrari and Haas, Mercedes and Racing Point, Red Bull and Toro Rosso.” he concluded.