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New rules will blow away smaller teams - Renault

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

F1's sweeping regulation changes for 2017 will create an "arms race" which will leave the sport's smaller teams struggling to compete, according to Renault F1's managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

On Tuesday Renault became the first team to unveil its car in the flesh, giving the first proper look at this year's wider models. The massive regulation changes are expected to come with a ferocious development battle throughout the season, with some predicting a radical shake-up of the pecking order and a frenetic start to the campaign as teams get to grips with the new rules.

Abiteboul says Renault expects the team to bring upgrades to every race of 2017.

"I think this season will be an arms race, and I really feel for the teams who are under-resourced," Abiteboul said. "When I see this car that we are presenting, it is not the car that we are testing in Barcelona.

"And the car in Barcelona will not be the car in Melbourne. So race-by-race we have got introduction of new parts. Frankly I have been in a small team [Caterham], it was not too successful, and I really feel for the teams who have to keep [finances in check]."

Renault has targeted fifth in 2017 with the R.S.17 and Abiteboul believes the nature of the new regulations means it will easily dispatch smaller teams -- even Force India, who finished fourth in 2016 and is renowned for great success on a limited budget.

"Resources will be very difficult for the small teams. I believe that most of the car build budget of a Force India will be gone by now, just to cope with the new regulations. That is also something that we are taking into account with the level of resources that we have -- we should be easily capable of beating teams like Haas and Force India and so on."