Renault could quit F1 over "Satellite teams"


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.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 07/03/2019
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