While the big-money squads like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have a clear advantage at the moment because of their huge resources, Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul thinks cost restrictions coming for 2021 could change the situation.
For while he accepts that Renault’s budget is not big enough to help it close down the gap to the front in the short term, he thinks the difficulties that will come as some teams need to cut back could leave them with a "major" headache.
“We know we have a huge deficit in resources against the teams that ultimately we want to fight against,” he said. “But we also know that things like the budget cap at some point will kick in.
“It makes no sense to stack up resources knowing that we will have to reduce and go down. In a certain respect it will be most unprofessional to do that, to hire people that we may have to lose in the future.
“We are exactly at the tipping point of where F1 expects manufacturer teams to be, so we need to accept to stand still. So I would say that our disadvantage will be the resources that we have in the next two years.
“But our advantage is that we will not have the distraction of having to think about the future. We can focus on going racing, and not having to think about a redundancy plan that will be a major distraction, let’s face it, for the management of teams that are much larger than us.
“There are pros and cons, I am not moaning, we have a plan and we will execute it.”
After Renault invested heavily in its Enstone operation since returning as a works team in 2016, Abiteboul is bullish that the fruits of its efforts will make a big difference as it heads into next season.
Asked if he was excited or nervous about 2019, Abiteboul said: “I think it would be concern or nerves if we were not seeing the gains that we are seeing.
“But we need to be careful. We don’t know the gains of the others, but my confidence and the confidence and the positive mindset of the team is coming also from the energy that we are feeling everywhere.
“The group of people that are coming together, understanding each other; the changes that Marcin [Budkowski] at Enstone is implementing, the stability and acceleration at Viry thanks to a number of recruitments that are finally in place. All of that is giving me confidence and optimism rather than concern about next year.”