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Renault: We're not here to make friends

NEWS STORY
03/10/2017

While refusing to confirm or deny that former FIA technical chief Marcin Budkowski is heading to Enstone, Cyril Abiteboul's barely supressed grin while speaking in Malaysia told you all you need to know.

Rival teams are up in arms at the proposed move, fearing that Budkowski will take vital information to Renault, not only relating to their current cars but to ideas in the pipeline for 2018 and beyond.

As the teams lobby for the Pole's gardening leave to be extended from the proposed three months to a year, in the hope that most of what he knows will be common knowledge by then, Christian Horner summed it up best when he said: "He was only in our factory two weeks ago".

Amidst the outcry that has finally got a majority of the teams agreeing for once, Abiteboul remains unmoved.

"We want to be one of the top teams by 2020," The Frenchman told Sky Sports F1. "It is at one time far away, but given we know what needs to be done, if you look at the 1 - 1.5-second gap between the midfield and the top teams, it is a big jump.

"That is why we need to be aggressive in what we do to be there by 2020," he continued. "In this sport you are not here to make friends.

"Obviously there are ways to do things," he admitted, "and anything we do in terms of recruitment - not necessarily Marcin - we need to grow, Enstone needs badly to grow.

"When we took the place it was 475 people, it is now 620 people. There is no secret that those people need to come from somewhere, and we have to go chasing from some of the other teams."

However, the Frenchman insisted that his team had no intention of exploiting Budkowski's 'inside knowledge'.

"Renault has a very clear track record of being extremely fair and loyal," he said. "So whatever we will do, we will make sure that it is done in a very loyal way and a very fair way to our competitors."

Fact is however, Budkowski quit his role with the FIA with immediate effect, thereby making him available - including the three months gardening leave compulsory under Swiss law - as soon as the start of 2018 before the first cars had even been unveiled.

Furthermore, one has to question the ethics of a senior official within the FIA being approached by a team and said team accepting whatever offer was made.

In fairness, several team bosses have grudgingly admitted admiration for Renault for making the move, admitting that they too would have made it if they considered it would work.

However, with Ross Brawn putting together his own 'super team' on FOM's money as the sport's new owners look for ways to improve the sport, could these insiders also be the subject of potential moves in the years ahead.

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