Top F1 teams will see own partners as threat in 2022, says Abiteboul

Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul believes the category's current "two-tier" system will end in 2022, impacting relationships between big teams and partners with whom they share technology

Top F1 teams will see own partners as threat in 2022, says Abiteboul

F1 will introduce a new cost cap in 2021 of $145 million, with a further reduction following in 2022 along with a set of new technical regulations aimed to create closer on-track racing.

Abiteboul is confident the changes will lead to closer competition once the new regulations arrive in 2022, but also believes the level playing field will make bigger teams less open to helping customer partners.

Racing Point based the design of its 2020 F1 car on the title-winning Mercedes W10 from last year, and receives a number of parts from the German team including the gearbox and suspension.

Haas enjoys a similar relationship with Ferrari, taking as many listed parts as possible for its car.

Other than supplying a power unit to McLaren, Renault currently stands alone with no technical allies. The team will be further-isolated in 2021 when McLaren switches to Mercedes, leaving it with no customer teams.

Abiteboul said that concerns about the partner relationships have been eased by the regulation changes, which he thinks will make the bigger teams see their customers as a greater threat.

"It was a worry when there was either no budget cap or the budget cap was sufficiently high that the grid would remain under a two-tier system," Abiteboul told Autosport.

"Now that we have a budget cap that is low enough that the grid will be much more competitive, I'm curious to see what will happen to those collaborations between teams.

"Because I think right now Mercedes is happy to let Racing Point copy its car. Whether it's legal or not legal, it's not my point, but they are very happy to help them in making their car very competitive.

"I will be very curious to see if that's still the case for 2022."

Abiteboul says that the big teams will simply be wary of their partners becoming too competitive once they are operating on similar budgets, placing a greater onus on operational strength.

"Anyone will be a threat to anyone, that's the game changer. And the ones that are winning are the fans," Abiteboul said.

"This type of construction that we have now, when the grid is not competitive and you have this two-tier system which is protecting three teams, it's not going to be the case any longer.

"It will police itself to some extent. That's why I'm much more relaxed about things from 2020 onwards that I am currently."

Renault has confirmed it will remain in F1 beyond 2020 despite being left without any customer teams, citing the strength of the new regulations and budget cap as being key to its future.

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