McLaren’s divorce from current Formula 1 engine suppliers Renault will not “massively” harm the French manufacturer, according to team boss Cyril Abiteboul.

During the Russian Grand Prix weekend McLaren announced it would cut ties with Renault at the end of the 2020 season in order to return to Mercedes power units from the following campaign in 2021.

The decision will bring to a close a three-year partnership once McLaren’s current deal runs out at the end of next year, while it leaves the Renault works squad without a customer team heading into F1’s post-2020 era.

Despite the setback, Abiteboul insists Renault remains in a strong position going forwards.

“I think we would have been stronger together on the basis of our approach to the partnership,” Abiteboul said.

“So obviously without that we are weaker than what we could have been and it’s a lost opportunity, but it’s not like it’s something that is putting us massively in a different position to the position we are in today.

“Right now there is nothing happening between us and McLaren on these types of things, so there is no change and there is no improvement, there is no degradation also.

“We just need to get our act together and keep on working in the usual way,” he added. “Except that what we are proposing to McLaren was a bit unusual, a bit more open-minded about the way teams can cooperate.

“We have got the fantastic model of Haas and Ferrari and apparently they have managed to make it work again, and it was just a different model of collaboration between two teams.

“So it was a lost opportunity, but we also know what we have to do and we are completely geared up to be capable of walking as a standalone team in all aspects.”

Asked what Renault was looking for out of the collaboration, Abiteboul replied: “We have no interest in a relationship that doesn’t bring something to the party. From an economic perspective, it brings nothing.

“From a marketing and communications perspective, let’s be honest it’s more negative than positive. If you are beaten you are a wanker and if you are beating them then your technology is not on a parity level!

“In all cases there is nothing in it for the supplier. Because there is stability in the regulations we have reached a level where we do not need to accumulate that data and frankly, it’s not bad.

“It’s a bit of luxury and I don’t think we will be suffering. So on that basis we are not going to review our offer and start thinking about subsidising the sale because ultimately that’s what it would have meant had we had to lower our price given our cost base.

“That’s not something that we wanted, we had a certain set of ambitions and also we have some confidence in the new technology we have started to develop for 2021.

“And frankly, if there is no particular appetite for a strategic partnership we have no particular interest to share what we believe could be a performance differentiator in 2021.”

 

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