Apr.15 (GMM) “Drastic measures” will keep Renault in Formula 1 in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
That is the suggestion of team boss Cyril Abiteboul, responding to claims that the situation could be the trigger for Renault’s departure.
“If we do not take drastic measures, there could be a risk,” he told L’Equipe. “But I am not used to living in fear and I have no influence on the markets. All I can do is cooperate with the FIA,” he said.
Abiteboul said the unprecedented crisis for Formula 1 “requires an excellent response from above”.
He said the first decisions were made quickly, “which was good”.
But a much more difficult discussion is currently taking place about reducing the budget cap from $175 million for 2021.
“This crisis allows us to evaluate the economic model of the sport,” Frenchman Abiteboul continued. “That way we can guarantee Formula 1.
“The idea is to keep all the teams on the grid,” he said. “The measures taken must ensure that this works, regardless of the wishes of the individual teams.
“I have the feeling that the FIA agrees with that and wants to protect Formula 1 at all costs.”
One big issue for Renault is Daniel Ricciardo. At the end of 2018, the Australian was poached from Red Bull on a huge retainer, but that number – even for 2020 – is now being renegotiated.
Abiteboul admits negotiating with Ricciardo about 2021 is now also a “problem”.
“We would usually work continuously towards an agreement and evaluate the performance,” he said. “Now we have to make a blind decision.
“We talk a lot with Alain Prost, Jerome Stoll and the committee and we need to make a choice before the season has even started.”
And if Ricciardo does not stay with Renault beyond 2020, Abiteboul said: “If that happened and we didn’t expect it, it would be a problem.
“That is why we are already talking to drivers from our academy.”