Renault: No need to reconsider F1 entry for now despite coronavirus

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Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul insists the team has no reason to reconsider their future beyond 2020.

The manufacturer has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus, with the company recently securing 5bn Euros in state aid from France to help it through the current crisis.

In F1, Renault has also seen its strategy to return to the front of the grid impacted by the decision to postpone new technical regulations until 2022, though a budget cap will be introduced at the reduced figure of $145m.

With McLaren splitting to reunite with Mercedes, the company could in theory make a clean exit from the sport if it was decided to pull the plug on the works team.

However, Abiteboul remains sure that outcome is off the table... for now.

"We're living through the situation with a mixture of expectation and angst on the health side, and concern regarding the economic consequences," he told Auto-Hebdo.

"But we're also not dispirited because we're part of a sport that has great value and part of a group that is strong. That's fortunate given the circumstances.

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"A one-year delay [of the regulations] won't encourage us to change our position, although the extent of the crisis, which isn't yet clear, could force a review.

"However, if we were to reach that stage, we wouldn't be the only one in that case. Other teams, which I will not name, are more exposed than we are."

The Renault chief is also upbeat about the future of F1 and Renault's chances of being competitive in it.

"If we were to find ourselves permanently - or rather sustainably - in a two-tier F1, then we could reconsider our involvement," he admitted.

"But the combination of the three following elements - a cap on costs, revised technical regulations and new Concorde Agreement - tells us that we have the means to bridge the gap with the leaders. Assuming obviously that we do our job well.

"I don't see any indication that we're dumber than others, with all due respect to certain critics and commentators.

"The budget cap will be introduced next year with a lower limit. We're still involved with the new Concorde Agreement for 2021. There is only one component, the technical regulations, that is delayed.

"You don't reconsider your commitment to Formula 1, usually decided for a period of 10 years, because of a crisis of this sort that leads to a one-year delay [of the new regs]," Abiteboul insisted.

And while there is a lot of focus on the new regulations to help Renault progress, their team boss also talked up the performance for the coming year.

"The objectives we had for 2021 are effectively pushed back by a year, I think everyone can understand that," he commented.

"It doesn't mean we won't be trying to do a good job next year, and when I look at our development rate up until Melbourne, we can say that we have the ability to produce a decent car, despite what will be frozen in terms of aerodynamic development.

"There's no major flaw in our car. We can continue to show a good level of performance and fight at the front of the midfield.

"That will be our target for 2021 before we head at full speed into 2022."