Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the performance of Toro Rosso shows Formula 1 must curb the rise of ‘B-teams’.Australian Grand Prix almost two-tenths of a second slower than the quickest Toro Rosso, questioned how the team had made such progress despite losing its technical director James Key last year.
Red Bull Technology supplies parts to Red Bull and Toro Rosso, who both use the same power unit. Toro Rosso uses a mixture of current and 2018-specification Red Bull parts.
Abiteboul told Sky the rise of this kind of ‘B-team’ arrangement is “a problem” when asked by Sky.
“Just look at Toro Rosso, who in my opinion are likely to be the team to beat as far as we’re concerned for the start of the season given where we are,” said Abiteboul.
“Toro Rosso had no technical director for most of last season. It’s very clear what went on. So we don’t even need a technical director to produce what is a very competitive car. For us that’s a problem.”
The Renault boss warned that if F1 does not restrict the opportunities for ‘B teams’ under its new 2021 regulations, no new manufacturer teams will be able to enter the sport.
“There was a before and after Haas that has created a precedent. I’m not challenging, but I’m just saying how do we move forward for teams like us, like McLaren, like Williams?
“But also how does a manufacturer that’s currently not in Formula 1 that wants to join Formula 1, how is it they will seriously contemplate reaching Formula 1 if it’s not possible to win without a B-team?
“For me that’s a strategic question we have to consider for the discussion for 2021. For ’19 and ’20 that’s gone now, we are gone with that type of set-up. But for 2021 I hope everyone realises how serious a question it is.”
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