Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said the company is considering various options as it considers joining or not joining Formula 1.
Abiteboul joined Hyundai in January after serving as Team Principal of the Renault F1 team from 2017 to 2020, leaving the French team shortly before being called up to Alpine.
The Frenchman also served as team boss at the now-defunct Caterham F1 team, and his background fueled speculation that his appointment at Hyundai was the start of the Korean manufacturer’s bid to join F1.
Talk to yourself RacingNews365.com Aside from WRC Rally Croatia, Abiteboul did not outright rule out Hyundai joining F1, but insisted that the current WRC racing program remains his priority, citing the relationship now established between Hyundai and the rally.
“That [Hyundai Motor] The group is actively looking at various programs at the moment,” said Abiteboul.
“Since the last 10 years, we are in the WRC. The bottom line is that we stay with the WRC, because when you create a connection between brands, that connection is only valid if it continues.
“Right now, there is a great legacy between Hyundai and the WRC, so our main focus is to see how the WRC will continue, so it makes sense [stay] in a game we’ve had for 10 years.”
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According to current WRC regulations, cars in the leading Rally1 category are powered by a 1.6 liter turbocharged engine and an electric unit that produces an additional 3.9kWh.
With a wide range of hybrid and all-electric models among Hyundai’s current road car offerings, Abiteboul suggests that the Korean company will soon compete in this range with more powerful electric components than the current WRC line.
“Maybe at some point we need to look at alternatives [to WRC]and the alternative that we will look at is basically the championship where EV is the main part,” said Abiteboul.
“What do you see Hyundai and [sister firm] Kia is all about product design technology, some of the most advanced technology, and sometimes they want to be able to feature that in a premium category.
F1’s next major regulatory overhaul scheduled for 2026 aims to put more emphasis on electric power, which seems to be in Hyundai’s favor.
However, given the complexity of F1 power units, and the time required to develop a competitive and reliable engine, any future involvement of Hyundai in F1 could coincide with another scheduled regulatory change in the 2030s.
Abiteboul also noted that Hyundai attaches great importance to the development of the company’s own models.
Such announcements will be less obvious in F1 than in the WRC, where Hyundai is entering a modified version of the company’s road-going i20 N hatchback.
“One thing that is very important for us is the promotion of our products and products [high-performance] N various,” said Abiteboul.
“Product promotion, at the moment, is not part of Formula 1, so we will focus on the types that do the development of electric technology and promote the product, especially for the benefit of our N brand.
“That’s what we need for motorsport. Any platform that does that, we can see it.”
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