Date: 8th January 2016 at 8:36am
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Despite playing a major part in the writing of Formula One’s current engine regulations, Renault would welcome a change.

The new engine regulations, which were first seen on the track in 2015, were agreed by committee, in principle the move from V8 aspirated engines to V6 Turbo-Hybrid engines was the right one.

Formula One represents the pinnacle of motor racing, both with its drivers and its technology and the switch was exactly what inspired Honda to return to the sport and to keep Renault from leaving it.

But the rules and regulations that were agreed were far too complicated and has seen costs spiral out of control, which has thus seen a cap on testing to keep costs down. It’s worked for the accountants, but not for the sport as it means the teams have one hand tied behind their back in terms of development.

For a sport to be competitive its competitors need to be on a level playing field, but with testing prevented, the new regulations handed an advantage to Mercedes as they were the manufacturer who developed the quickest car by the point of that deadline.

It has taken two years for Ferrari to catch up to Mercedes, whilst Renault have drifted further and further behind.

If teams cannot compete due to their power-units then why should they spend millions of pounds to struggle and look bad?

That was the crossroads that Renault found themselves at when evaluating their position in the sport.

Renault had contemplated leaving the sport entirely due to looking uncompetitive and getting all the blame for the unsuccessful seasons with Red Bull, despite limited acknowledgement for when they were winning.

In the end Renault opted to remain in Formula One by becoming a fully fledged manufacturer by buying the Lotus team.

But they could have just as easily walked away from the sport, leaving F1 with just three engine suppliers.

So what’s next for Formula One as the engine situation is risking losing teams from the sport, either on a competitive level or a cost level?

For Renault, now that they have made the commitment to staying in the sport, they want to see change. Although they still believe the hybrid engines are key to Formula One.

‘Hybrid regulations are important, not just to Renault but to any car maker, If you look at the future product line of most brands, you will see hybrid elements on all cars. Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told motorsport.com.

‘[But] we should not be precious. I am not completely convinced that we have the engine regulations that are completely fit for purpose for the model of modern F1.

‘[I am talking about] for the show, for the cost for the manufacturer, for price for the team, also noise and serviceability and so on and so forth.

‘Plus also there is all the sporting elements associated with it ? like the token system, which is extremely confusing, and the penalty system, which is extremely confusing. I don’t think we have something brilliant.


He concluded: ‘The regular thing is evolution rather than radical changes. It is very difficult to anticipate what will be the effect of radical change. But we are completely open to change in the regulations.’