Abiteboul hits out at "unfair" Mercedes


While team boss Cyril Abiteboul recently advised that Renault is not in F1 to make friends but to win, the Frenchman omitted to say that his team appears to be actively alienating people and making enemies.

Having poached Marcin Budkowski from his senior technical role at the FIA, a move which has not gone down well with anyone else in the paddock, the French outfit has been sounding out employees at rival teams.

However, on finding that Mercedes locks its more senior and vital employees into contracts that involve lengthy periods in the Brackley garden, should they feel the need to move on, Abiteboul isn't happy.

"Red Bull is not too aggressive in the way they are keeping their people, but Mercedes are the most aggressive," he said at the weekend.

"We signed up a senior person from Mercedes last year, and he is not due to join before 2019 because of the contractual situation," he added. "The UK is very favourable to protect employees for the benefit of the employer, but that is giving us a bit of a hard time. We know it, so we simply have to deal with it."

"Red Bull are not stupid in the way they are protecting their staff. Mercedes have the right to do what they are doing, but I think it is a bit unfair. They already have the financial resources but now they are blocking the system by making sure no one can go anywhere. At the end of the day, it is still a sport and we need to provide a good show and interesting show and that is not what is happening if you are doing that."

With barely a hint of irony, he insisted: "The reliability issues that we have this year on our car, a lot of that is due to the fact that we have very young designers in the design office. They don't necessarily know the tolerances and load cases, and they don't have this type of experience, so we are suffering.

"We have massively recruited new people, very aggressive people, and a lot of people coming from Red Bull," he revealed. "We have upgraded the wind tunnel and upgrading next year the cluster. It is all about facilities and we will be at the level of the best team by the middle of next year, in terms of facilities and number of people, resources. Now it is just about making sure that they work properly together."

In case you've forgotten, it was Renault that demanded the new hybrid engine formula be introduced, threatening that unless this happened it would walk away from the sport as an engine manufacturer.

As it happened, Mercedes did a better job and the French engine still lags behind its German rival and Ferrari.

Now, Renault is among the most vocal when it comes to the need for a limit on spending, demanding the introduction of a budget cap for fear of a spending war.

Yet, the French manufacturer appears to spend as much as necessary to entice employees from rival teams and even the sport's governing body, while having the temerity to scream "unfair" when it fails to get its way.

If it wasn't for that cute Aerocat...

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Published: 23/10/2017
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