Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul is unhappy with the performance of rival mid-field squad Toro Rosso, saying the Faenza outfit exemplifies the need to rein in the development of ‘B-Team’ in F1.
Renault’s performance in the first free practice session of 2019 in Melbourne isn’t likely indicative of its overall position in the pecking order, but the French team’s best car – driven by Nico Hulkenberg – ended the morning session behind Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.
It was but a reminder of the progress achieved by the Italian squad over the winter, helped in no small part by its close technical collaboration with Red Bull Racing, much to Abiteboul’s displeasure.
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“Just look at Toro Rosso, who in my opinion are likely to be the team to beat as far as we’re concerned for the start of the season given where we are,” said the Abiteboul, speaking to Sky F1.
“Toro Rosso had no technical director for most of last season. It’s very clear what went on.
“So we don’t even need a technical director to produce what is a very competitive car. For us that’s a problem.”
Abiteboul has called on F1 to restrict technical collaborations between teams when it introduces its 2021 regulations, arguing that the ‘B-Team’ model will deter new manufacturers from entering the sport.
“There was a before and after Haas that has created a precedent,” added the Renault F1 boss.
“I’m not challenging, but I’m just saying how do we move forward for teams like us, like McLaren, like Williams?
“But also how does a manufacturer that’s currently not in Formula 1 that wants to join Formula 1, how is it they will seriously contemplate reaching Formula 1 if it’s not possible to win without a B-team?
“For me that’s a strategic question we have to consider for the discussion for 2021. For ’19 and ’20 that’s gone now, we are gone with that type of set-up. But for 2021 I hope everyone realises how serious a question it is.”
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