Hyundai’s new motorsport team principal Cyril Abiteboul has moved to quash rumours that the company could be set for a future venture into Formula 1.
Ever since the 2026 power unit regulations were formally ratified last August, many new potential entries have been muted, with Hyundai being among those most populously linked.
The speculation surrounding any possible interest has only heightened in the last month with the arrival of Abiteboul as the South Korean car manufacturer’s motorsport chief.
Abiteboul has a thorough association with F1, having endured stints in the capacity of team principal at both Caterham and Renault in a seven-year spell up to the end of 2020.
However, Abiteboul has since definitively confirmed that Hyundai’s sole immediate focus remains on the World Rally Championship, as the category remains the one that most aligns with its current road car sales ambitions.
“There is no particular plan [to enter F1,” Abiteboul said, as quoted by Autosport. “Clearly, Hyundai is a company that is hot for a fantastic development at a global scale, with a new product line-up, a unique range and so on and so forth. And motorsport is here to support the business.
“So, I need to understand, with the rest of the company, what the business needs, and how we can support it right now.
“Rally has been the best solution in order to support small segment cars, segment A. We need also to see how segment A is going to move, moving ahead, and make sure that rally remains relevant to that.
“That certainly is the priority right now. We are getting ready. We must win and make sure that rally keeps on serving the interests of the business.”
Nevertheless, the rumours are unlikely to subside and Abiteboul has left the door slightly open on the distinct possibility that one day Hyundai could be enticed into the pinnacle of single-seater racing, providing the opportunity is available at the right time for the business.
“I don’t want to say yes, because then you’re going to elaborate that Hyundai is going to F1,” Abiteboul added.
“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 the promoters.
“If we need to do something else, in addition, we will see it in due course. But that’s not the priority for now. The priority is winning in rally.”