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Renault could quit F1 over "Satellite teams"

NEWS STORY
07/03/2019

The season hasn't even begun, and yet already Renault is threatening to walk away from F1.

The French team, which only returned to the sport as a constructor in 2016 having previously walked away (again) in the wake of Crash-gate, is concerned at the increasing use of B-teams, or what Cyril Abiteboul terms Satellite teams.

Citing Mercedes and Ferrari, Abiteboul claims that the use of second teams is not only driving up costs but is making fair competition impossible, creating a "different universe" within the sport.

"We now have the operation we decided to have," he tells Auto Motor und Sport referring to the rebuild programmes in terms of facilities and staffing levels following Renault's return to the sport as a constructor.

"What we did not realise back then was that some had begun this crazy arms race, particularly Ferrari and Mercedes," he continues. "That's a different sport, a different universe.

"Our plan was to operate at the level of the top teams but they have continued to grow at almost our pace and with such crazy numbers that we cannot and do not want to go with them."

Fact is, even though Renault's workforce is now up to a healthy 1,200, it falls far short of the estimated 1,600 employed by both Mercedes and Ferrari.

Furthermore, in 2018, as it battled Haas for 'best of the rest', even having to resort to protesting the American outfit's cars, it became clear that Renault, like several of its rivals, was frustrated by the close ties between the team and Ferrari, which now also has Alfa Romeo on board.

In addition to the extra political clout that Ferrari, for example, receives from having a B-team such as Haas, the American outfit benefits from shared resources which means less expenditure while also giving certain technical advantages.

"Haas created a precedent that is difficult to go back on now," said Abiteboul. "For me, there is the before Haas and after Haas eras.

"It changed F1, possibly forever," he insists. "Ten teams have become four or five, that's something we did not think about in our strategy. Soon, you will not be able to win if you don't have a B-team.

"Before I can beat Ferrari, I first have to beat Haas and the harder that is, the harder it is to get more prize money or sponsors.

"We see this situation as very serious and it's not just a problem for Renault, but for anyone who cannot afford this model," he warns.

Indeed, with the sport still looking to introduce a budget cap for 2021, Abiteboul believes that in using B-teams, the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari could use this to their advantage.

"If you have less money and resources available, one team can concentrate on the aerodynamics and the other on the chassis," he says. "It will make these alliances fantastic. But if you are isolated like us, there is no chance.

"We do not want to be a part of an F1 like that," he warns.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by NS Biker, 10/03/2019 0:08

"Likely a big part of his beef relates to data collection and common component development. Sharing parts and performance data in the current world of limited testing, is bound to have value. Tire performance being one aspect.
There are loads of scenarios that present themselves if they were to "quit". Renault could resort to being just an engine supplier to their former self (whoever buys them out), McLaren and, whoever else may come knocking.
They would get 60% of the promotional benefit for a fraction of the cost. More benefit if their host of teams starts winning.
The other concern is political. If Alfa Romeo, Haas and Ferrari all vote together on F1 issues, sporting and technical, they could .... manipulate things to their benefit. Now wouldn't that have an Italian flavor?"

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2. Posted by Canuck, 08/03/2019 12:08

"What is he talking about? The level of support a team can get from another team is limited to acquisition of certain parts other than PU.And this is monitored by the FIA. And what team does Mercedes support as a "satellite"? I now wait for him to cry about budget caps."

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3. Posted by imejl99, 08/03/2019 11:40

"Renault didn't threatened quitting F1 over "Satellite teams" when Red Bull was winning championships. Scuderia Toro Rosso is there since 2006... "

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4. Posted by C5, 07/03/2019 23:53

"So. You are the head of a business in a competitive market space. You didn't anticipate your competition would evolve. That is one huge admission of personal failure right there. The Renault board better wake up and replace you soon, before the team become the Blockbuster or Sears of F1."

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5. Posted by English Tony, 07/03/2019 23:21

"So that's Red Bull / Torro Rosso threatening to quit plus Renault and Merc so far along with Haas, Ferrari & presumably Alfa

Williams appear to be leaving anyway & neither McLaren nor Racing Point will have any engines



"

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6. Posted by GarH, 07/03/2019 22:21

"Where would F1 be without the annual "we're leaving" threat from one of the teams. It's always accompanied by a "change the rulz or else" whine.

All too often it's been Renault. In the past they were allowed to develop their engine to catch up with Mercedes and Ferrari, and got away with using the opportunity to use their exhaust to blow the diffuser. What are they angling for this time? Employing Marcin Budkowski straight from the FIA hasn't produced the goods has it!
"

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7. Posted by klmn, 07/03/2019 21:18

"Mr Whiner .
Poor Hulk poor Ricky"

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8. Posted by mds167, 07/03/2019 19:45

"A path to the return of Williams Renault?"

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9. Posted by Yeyox02, 07/03/2019 18:27

"Threats, threats and more threats, I want to see Renault quitting F1 after recruiting Ricciardo and hundreds of people. Renault could have b,c,d, teams if you want Mr Cyril, no problem, do the same than the others are doing and that is it. Renault and RB threaten to leave F1 just because the fly passes."

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10. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 07/03/2019 18:07

"Just thinking about this, how about McLaren work on chassis, electronics, aero while Renault concentrate on power unit? They could both work on drive trains to keep being F1.
If you can't beat em' join em'."

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11. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 07/03/2019 18:05

"Time for Renault and McLaren to work closer together?"

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