“We Had No Choice but to Accept”- Renault Boss Abiteboul’s “Biggest Disappointment” in the Racing Point Saga

Published 09/22/2020, 8:16 AM EDT


Racing Point have emerged as surprise contenders to take that third position behind Mercedes and Red Bull. The team is in fourth right at McLaren’s heels with barely 14 separating the two in the Constructors’ standings. They are also ahead of the bigger teams like Renault and Ferrari.

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But Racing Point have suffered their fair share of controversy since they hit the track at the start of this season. After some investigation on the “brake ducts issue”, the FIA docked 15 Championship points and levied a fine of 360,000 pounds on the team.

And one team, strong in its pursuit of the ‘severity of the punishment’, was Renault. Naturally, considering how the likes of the French marquee and Ferrari would want to move up the rankings.

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Renault had previously appealed against Racing Point’s sanctions

Speaking about this dispute, Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul feels that Racing Point will escape heavy consequences because of the ‘token rule system’. And he believes that being a Mercedes customer, Racing Point will continue to procure year-old parts to develop their future cars.

In an exclusive interview with Auto Motor und Sport, he expressed his thoughts, “If the token regulation had been voted individually, we would never have agreed. We had no choice but to accept that.

“Only then did many people realize what that means. But then it was already too late to change anything for next year. This is my biggest disappointment.”

Formula One F1 – Tuscan Grand Prix – Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy – Racing Point’s Sergio Perez during practice REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Abiteboul’s frustration is understandable to an extent. Not only were Racing Point’s cars allowed to continue racing, but he felt that the race results gained using the ‘illegal parts’ demanded a bigger sanction.

Had the FIA deducted more points, the likes of Renault and Ferrari would have jumped places. And table positions, as we do know, make a big difference to teams from a financial and sporting perspective.

Abiteboul would change ‘a lot more’ if he could

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Liberty Media and the FIA had been in continuous talks to update the 2021 regulations. With the token system set to endure, the FIA’s aim was to clampdown on similar instances of ‘car copying’.

Formula One F1 – Tuscan Grand Prix – Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy – Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo during practice REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

But Abiteboul believes that the token rule restricts them. He stated, “We’d change a lot more if allowed. Racing Point can change a lot more than we can. This is a clear advantage for customers who use this model by taking over parts that are one year old.” 

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However, the Renault boss cannot mull over the disappointment any longer. With the Alpine F1 rejig well underway, Abiteboul will switch focus to building a better car for 2021. And for his sake, he will hope to beat the Racing Point cars on the track.

(All Quotes Translated by Google Translate)

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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