Renault’s Formula 1 Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul has said that ‘electrification’ is the team’s aim when it comes to future engine development as current power-units are inefficient.
Abiteboul also claimed that hybrid power is the future of all internal combustion engines and F1’s future will continue to be shaped by efforts to lower emissions.
Recently, F1 and non-F1 manufacturers, Formula One Management and the FIA held talks about the direction of the motorsport beyond 2020 as the current V6 hybrid power-unit is seen as too expensive and too convoluted.
“We have made a proposition to keep the current engine, but increase the fuel flow and increase the sound,” said Abiteboul.
“And we have made a second proposal, which will be a simplification of the current engine by removing some of its elements but still keeping electrification and fuel efficiency.
“We do believe in electrification,” continued Abiteboul.
“The world is going towards lower emissions, so Formula 1 cannot turn its back to this evolution; we need electrification.
“All cars will be hybrid in the future – we don’t mean fully electric cars.
“It is all about balancing between combustion engines – as this is where the DNA of Formula 1 is – and electrification.
“Maybe right now we have an engine that is too complex and too heavy – and is not producing enough sound and horsepower. But we are open for any discussions in that direction.”
The FIA has already promised to reduce power-unit supply costs by €1 million this season over 2016 and take a further €3m off the price in 2018 with constraints on part weights, dimensions and materials, and boost pressure helping the cause.
However, Abiteboul claimed that cost isn’t a big factor in F1 as “most of the teams operate on a budget of €100m”, citing the FIA’s engine cost estimate of €12m.
“The engine would make not more than 12 percent [of the budget]. Is that really shocking?
“I am not massively shocked. What we need is stability in the regulations – that would bring costs down and enhance the show.”
Instead, he said that the the lack of balance between teams in F1 is a pressing concern.
“We are car-makers and the engine is the heart of the automotive industry, so we believe that it needs to be the prevailing factor in Formula One,” he said.
“We need to find a better balance than the situation we have now, where the pecking order of the grid is basically the ranking of the engines – which is not healthy for the sport.
“So we need a better balance between the engine as a performance differentiator and the fact that a team with a fantastic chassis can also be hugely successful.
Renault will have a new Head of Aerodynamics, Peter Machin joining the Enstone outfit after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Machin formerly worked at Red Bull’s aero department and will join an expanded workforce at Renault.
Toro Rosso and Red Bull are also customers of Renault’s engines and while Abiteboul said that small upgrades will come with every race, he has ruled out bringing one significant upgrade to a grand prix in 2017, ruling out any ‘magic bullet’.
“Frankly, the next big upgrade will be next year.
“Then we will have a completely new concept. That will make a difference – but as I said, 2018.
“Last year we created a huge expectation and we came with an upgrade that had a big impact, but we can’t repeat that every year.
“Now it is all about constant improvements which overall will make a difference – but there is no magic bullet.”
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