Renault would have left F1 without upcoming rule changes - Abiteboul

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Renault had "absolutely no interest" in remaining in Formula 1 without the upcoming rule changes across 2021 and 2022, team boss Cyril Abiteboul says.

Last week, the French manufacturer committed its future to the sport despite announcing 15,000 job losses across the company as part of a $2.2bn cost-saving package in the wake of the coronavirus.

In the weeks prior, uncertainty had been growing over the fate of the Renault F1 team, with even rumours of Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin considering an investment or purchase.

But Abiteboul, who had remained confident the Enstone-based outfit would continue, explained why he had few concerns over Renault's future. 

"We have a very regular opportunity to meet with the executive management of Renault,” the Frenchman told

“We are very frequently reporting on what’s going on in our world, which is a world that is very different from the road car business.

“Last week was not a one-off.

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“We have had multiple occasions to exchange about the direction F1 was taking, from the strategic perspective, but also in terms of marketing, what is being done to make the show better, to make the marketing platform more valuable, and also to make the cost more reasonable – not just the cost to participate, but also the cost to be competitive.

“Because at the end of the day that’s what we want, we want to be competitive, and it was very clear that in the current set-up there is absolutely no possibility to move from the second tier into the first tier," Abiteboul noted.

“We had absolutely no interest to be part of that. But the budget cap is changing that, and the technical regulations are changing that."

Having risen from the back of the grid to lead the midfield in just three seasons, it did appear as though last year Renault hit their peak in terms of potential and in fact, slipped back behind customer team McLaren.

But while the team has grown substantially in terms of personnel numbers, Abiteboul admits success was only a possibility if the top three teams were dramatically pegged back.

“Frankly it’s an ongoing process, it’s not just the process and the announcements of last week. The process started basically when we came back in 2016," he said.

“It was our expectation then that at some point there would be some financial regulations containing the arms race, and also on the engine side and so on and so forth.

“We’ve been driving and lobbying for that since that point, and clearly with the recent announcements there was no reason not to make it clear that Renault is fully committed [to F1].”