New engine rules will deliver what F1 needs - Renault

Renault is convinced that changes to the engine rules agreed by manufacturers will deliver the reduced costs and power convergence that Formula 1 chiefs have demanded.

New engine rules will deliver what F1 needs - Renault
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H make contact at the start of the race
Start action: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07, Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07 crash
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16 at the start of the race as Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H race with broken front wings
Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11
Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 leads team mate Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 and Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 battle for position
Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Engine Technical Director with Nick Chester, Renault Sport F1 Team Chassis Technical Director, Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director, Bob Bell, Renault Sport F1 Team Chief Technical Officer and Frederic Vasseur, Renault Sport F1 Team Racing Director
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal during the press conference
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director, Kenneth Ma, FRD Founder and Frederic Vasseur, Renault Sport F1 Team Racing Director

The plans to bring down costs and ensure more parity of power were agreed by car makers and approved by the Strategy Group earlier this week, but could not be voted on by the F1 Commission because not enough members were present at a meeting for a quorum.

The changes to the rules – which include reducing costs by up to four million Euro for 2018 through more standard parts and limiting drivers to three engines to the season – is being put to an e-vote this week.

The plans have not had universal support, however, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner openly criticising them at the Chinese Grand Prix.

But Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul is adamant that the ideas are exactly what F1 needs, and will be positive for the sport.

"I completely understand the concerns from the commercial rights holder, from the FIA and also from the teams regarding the engine situation, - the cost and also the performance disparity," Abiteboul told Motorsport.com. "But it is good to also look at facts and also reality.

"What I see and what I observe is that Honda is catching up and Renault is catching up. We are open to a set of regulations that will lower the number of power units produced, which will mechanically lower the price, we are open to that, which will help the small teams.

"What I observe also is that Red Bull, which was funny on engine strategy last year, have an engine which is giving them the ability to be on the front row in Shanghai and top three in the constructors championships.

"So what I look at is that things self regulate themselves and, even though I am French, I don't like too much intervention from an administration to tell you what should happen and what should not happen."

He added: "I think with Red Bull for instance, we have been working with each other for eight years, we have had our ups and downs, but there has always been a way to sort things out.

"We know each other extremely well with Helmut Marko and Christian Horner. It is better if we try to focus on the big challenge of F1, and I don't think the engine is the biggest challenge being faced by F1. That is my opinion."

Price level

Abiteboul believes the 12 million Euro target for an engine supply deal is right, as it will bring cost levels for customer teams back down to where they were in the V8 era.

"Renault is prepared to support with a price that is affordable for teams, but we are talking about a price that could go as low as 12 million [Euro] in a couple of years, when development costs are lower and the number of engines we have to produce is lower.

"Frankly, the 12 million is acceptable. It will be more or less an historic low – the V8 was in region of 8/9 million, but if you added KERS it was close to 12 million. If you look at the complexity of the engine, in terms of engine and fuel efficiency, it is acceptable."

Performance closing

Abiteboul believes that with costs being addressed, there is little for Red Bull to fear about performance differences between the different power units.

"Performance disparity caused all the sort of tactics and manoeuvre regarding Red Bull, because if the engine is becoming a big performance differentiator then that is suddenly a way to sort of to tune up or tune down the respective positions," he said.

"I understand why it is not acceptable for a team the size of Red Bull frankly - even though at the end of the day if a team like Red Bull want their independence they should build their own engine. They have the financial capability, just look at the distribution of money.

"They could elect to develop their own engine and the teams that get the same money they go through the financial burden of developing their own engine, so that is why you see there is something that is not completely fair.

"They have the money but don't have to spend it on the engine, so they can spend it on the chassis and driver – which gives them an advantage, all things being equal to the others in their league.

"But they have been clever. It is fair for us to recognise that."

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