Renault ‘takes no satisfaction’ from Honda exit
Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says the French manufacturer “takes no satisfaction” from Honda’s withdrawal from F1, insisting the Japanese engine supplier’s withdrawal is not a positive development for F1.
Honda’s departure at the end of the 2021 season will leave just three power unit suppliers on the grid: Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.
But Honda’s exit has also left Red Bull and AlphaTauri scrambling to find a new engine partner by the end of the year.
Three years after Renault’s acrimonious split with Red Bull, Abiteboul says he takes no joy in seeing its former partner in a fix, and even less comfort in what Honda’s exodus implies for F1.
“I want to be very clear that we take no satisfaction in the Honda situation,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
“We need to call it the way it is, it’s not a positive development for F1. We want an F1 with car makers, with OEMs, with engine suppliers, and being down to three engine manufacturers is not a positive development.
“We need to draw some clear conclusions from this situation, and it’s something I’ve been urging the governing body to look at more carefully.
“The engine situation is simply unsustainable. In particular from an economic perspective, but also from a technology perspective. I am not sure we can afford this perception.
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“Either we’re capable of changing this perception of the current engine architecture, or probably we need to fast track the adoption of a new architecture, so that we get in a better place in terms of perception again.”
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Abiteboul believes that Honda’s decision to pull the plug on its involvement in F1, justified by a strategic need to channel its resources towards “future power unit and energy technologies”, is a clear indictment of F1’s failure to properly promote the merits of Grand Prix racing’s hybrid technology.
“I would expect that this development triggers some harder thinking about the scheduling of the next generation of power trains,” said Abiteboul.
“It’s just more evidence that we have failed in putting together the right messaging and the right marketing of these engine regulations, which are mind blowing – there is nothing more advanced in the world in terms of automotive powertrain.
“There is nothing that even gets close to this efficiency level for light vehicles, so that’s remarkable.
“But it’s just as remarkable to have failed so badly in explaining to the world and getting the world to understand what this is all about, and the windfalls that could impact more mainstream technology.
“It’s just the basics of marketing, we need to get the world to know what we’re doing, not simply do it and complain about it,” added the Frenchman.
“Every now and then when drivers are talking about the engines, it’s to complain, and it’s very unfortunate that we have very little opportunity to talk about how amazing the engines are.
“Maybe we need to ask ourselves if we need to have that level of technology in the engines if technology is only deemed to be detrimental to the competitiveness of a team and of a car.”
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