Cyril Abiteboul has responded to speculation about Hyundai’s interest in joining Formula 1, explaining what the South Korean manufacturer has identified as its priorities.
Abiteboul was recently promoted to team principal of Hyundai Motorsport, a development which has served to increase speculation about Hyundai’s alleged interest in Formula 1.
The Frenchman was previously the team principal of Renault F1, so it was not long before connections were drawn between his appointment and the possibility of a future F1 project.
Several manufacturers have expressed their interest in joining the pinnacle of motorsport in the last 12 months, with Audi securing entry into the sport for the 2026 season.
This is not to say that entering Formula 1 is an easy process for manufacturers, especially since Audi’s future in F1 is only thanks to a collaboration with an existing team. However, demand is undoubtedly on the rise.
In any case, when considering the growing interest shown by several manufacturers, speculation about Hyundai’s intrigue did not seem without foundation.
Whilst there have been few concrete indications of Hyundai’s F1 interest, this has not stopped reports suggesting a long-term ambition to compete in the category.
In a recent interview, as quoted by motorsport.com, Abiteboul responded to these reports:
“I don’t want to say yes, because then you’re looking to elaborate that Hyundai is going to F1. I want to go back to my previous answer.
“We need to make sure it serves the business. Right now, rally is serving the business, and the priority is to make sure that it stays like that, working with the FIA and promoters.
“If we need to do something else in addition, we will see in due course. But that’s not the priority. The priority is winning in rally.”
Although a powerhouse like Hyundai joining F1 is an attractive prospect, there is plenty of ground to cover for this scenario to actually materialise.
Formula 1 will certainly be encouraged by the rising demand for a seat at the table, but it remains to be seen whether the process of entering the sport is still attainable and realistic.