Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says Formula 1's future budget cap will be anything but a "saving opportunity" for the French team compared to its current level of spending.
The sport's managers and the teams have agreed to implement a mandatory cost cap from 2021 set at $175 million
However, the figure excludes a series of significant items, like drivers' salaries, engine costs and marketing expenses, and surpasses the teams' current budgets except for Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Abiteboul says the planned level of spending is higher than anticipated and could actually decide Renault to increase its budget to help it compete with its front-running rivals.
"We are well below. In no shape or form is it a saving opportunity for us," the Renault F1 boss told Motorsport.com.
"We are just thinking what we need to do, whether we need to freeze the current level because we think it is way below but high enough to be competitive, or we need to increase.
"We may have to increase because it [the budget cap] is higher than we were anticipating. Substantially higher. But it is a discussion that we need to have with our shareholders because that is not a decision I can make myself."
McLaren CEO Zak Brown agrees with Abiteboul that the $175 million remains a lofty level and doubts the number will promote a level playing field in F1.
"With all the exceptions, it’s still a big number," said Brown, speaking to Auto Motor und Sport.
"The most important thing is to give the fans a good show. I don’t think it takes so much money to do that. So why not let the teams compete with similar budgets?
"That would make the sport less predictable, bring more surprises. In the end, the best will win either way.
"Take a look at IndyCar. The Penskes, Ganassis and Andrettis still win the championship. But they do not win all races.
"There are now and then winners from other teams. And that's good for the sport. A lower budget coverage would favor that."
Like Renault, McLaren could also increase its current spending level to approach the $175 million threshold.
"First, we need to improve in every area. Then we must see if we can invest as much money as the others under the budget cap," he added.
"The top teams will not have hundreds of people and hundreds of millions of dollars more than us, but there will not be an overnight change in 2021. But it could be the beginning of the teams aligning."