Renault: Hard to justify costs purely as an engine supplier

Renault F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has spoken out about the high costs of supplying engines in Formula 1, and admits it is hard to justify spending out as much as they do without having a factory team.

Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn spoke to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone during the Monaco Grand Prix about the long term plans of the company, but a key factor brought up in the discussions was cost.

“There have been a lot of comments from many people who are not representative of Renault – so it was good to take the opportunity of the annual catch up that is Monaco in the absence of a French GP, to do that with Bernie without any middle man,” said Abiteboul to

“The one thing I can say is that in our opinion the engine supplier model does not work with the new engine regulations. The level of spend is so high that you don’t get enough benefit as a supplier to justify the spend – particularly to catch up with people who have placed the bar so high like Mercedes.

“If Mercedes had not placed the bar so high then perhaps the spend would have been more contained and the whole positioning of engine supplier would make sense.

“But right now the boundaries are so far that we have to spend more. And to spend more there has to be more return including from a marketing perspective.”

Whereas the talk of Renault returning to Formula 1 as a fully-blown manufacturer continues to simmer, Abiteboul has also revealed that the partnership Renault have with Red Bull could continue past their current contract, which runs until the end of the 2016 season.

“In theory we could find that marketing value with Red Bull, which is why I still believe there’s a Red Bull future,” added Abiteboul. “However, it is more difficult to find than with the previous engine regulations.”