Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso, Albert Park, 2019

Abiteboul unhappy with Toro Rosso’s performance

2019 F1 season

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Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the performance of Toro Rosso shows Formula 1 must curb the rise of ‘B-teams’.

Abiteboul, whose quickest car ended first practice for the 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.”

RaceFans’ exclusive interview with Toro Rosso’s Franz Tost
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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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 31 comments on “Abiteboul unhappy with Toro Rosso’s performance”

    1. He should unhappy with his technical director. Or just blame the engine.

      1. The engine is something he definitely doesn’t want to talk about. And really, if they were good enough they could they could have a B team too, after all, RBR managed to get where they are without a top engine and STR have not been challenging for best of the rest for a long time and have often had a different PU to RBR.

    2. Pity. I thought he’d be moaning about Red Bull, but he’s set his sights lower.

      1. @phylyp

        True. The first race of the season isn’t underway yet and we’ve got Cyril complaining about how fighting the B teams of the big 3 isn’t fair anymore.

    3. Cyril is just voicing a perfectly valid point.

    4. criticize him all you want, but he has a point. not to mention that these b-teams will just move over for the mothership during the race. so what are renault mclaren and williams supposed to do?

      should the best team just me the team with the most money? the new requirement ot win in f1 is to have not one, but two teams. which is weird.

    5. I agree in that it the works teams shouldn’t be basically rounding up the midfield and turning them into their B teams, but the way he worded that “restricting opportunity” part makes it sound like me wants more barriers to entry in F1. That would only make it even harder for the grid to grow, and the relative lack of teams in the sport has been a big complaint from fans for a few years now. It would be nice to see more manufacturers in F1, but it can’t be done at the expense of all the privateers, or else we’d have an 8 car grid.

      Part of this also reeks of jealously, if you ask me. Renault is the one works team that doesn’t have a customer that really qualifies as a B team (technically, Mercedes doesn’t either, but they do have both Racing Point and Williams). But at the same time he wants to lump Renault in with these B teams despite being a full factory team with a huge budget. He sounds like he just wants to play the “poor me, woe is I, this is so unfair” trope.

      1. @danykvyatwillstealyoursoul
        The French, protest is the national hobby.

    6. Cristiano Ferreira
      15th March 2019, 4:27

      Well if they want to operate with a low budget that’s what they get. If they want to rise they better spend some money.

      There’s no point in running a Works team with a “garagista” budget. I bet McLaren will jump Renault soon.

    7. will this prove that red bull is right?

    8. I think Abiteboul should be quiet, I get what he is saying but it’s time for him and Renault to get on with it.

      1. Same here. He’s right. But he’s wrong to say it.

    9. Whiner. Sore loser. I guess the he is saying the Honda is really really good?

      1. Johns, the question is, do you think that it is sustainable or healthy for the sport to be in a situation where the biggest teams are using a secondary team to effectively shut other teams out?

        If one of those large teams were to quit, it then cascades much further down the grid as you now have another team or two that depends on that parent team for survival – it results in a more significant concentration of power in the hands of a smaller number of teams, and makes it unsustainable for independent teams or medium sized manufacturers.

        1. This racing, not a beauty pagent. If you want to win, spend the money and create a B team.

          1. Exactly this. Fully commit or stop complaining.

        2. Funny that he thinks its okay to pay 48mill for a new driver but not place that money into the development of the car.
          He only knows how to bitch and moan.

    10. A B-team is optional for F1, but only in the driver way, not the tech way. Different teams should have different design concept, that can let the race be more unpredictable, and be more entertaining. Drivers who want to win a world champion need a practice. They may have some mistake, which the big teams don’t want. So just let them level up in the small teams or the B-team, that will benefit to the F1, I believe.

    11. Even if it sounds a bit bitter, i sort of agree. I mean, Haas being a mini-Ferrari is a problem for big names in the sport. Haas came from no where and instantly was up to speed.

      But it’s also good news for small teams. That was what made those big names big in the first place, being able to build a chassis and fit an off the shelf Cosworth engine, wasn’t it? The way it’s done has certainly changed but the essence is the same, why build everything if you can buy parts and be competitive instantly?

      There has to be a balance of course. If all the midfield is made of B teams, we’ll be watching the “two tier Formula 1” we see today, forever

      1. That was what made those big names big in the first place, being able to build a chassis and fit an off the shelf Cosworth engine, wasn’t it?

        @fer-no65 Aaaaah, nothing like the roar of a 1950 Ferrari-Cosworth ;-)

        1. @mrboerns well Ferrari started racing Alfa Romeo cars. And even used a Lancia. So yeah… I meant Williams, McLaren, Tyrrell…

          1. i am fully aware of that @fer-no65 however it did not prevent me from poking some light hearted banter at You

    12. A B-team will indeed get help from the A-team, so I understand that one feels that it’s kind of unfair. On the other hand: A B-team will never be an A-team, getting help from the A-team implies that you will never outsmart, outdevelop and therefore outbeat your A-team. Renault with their factory backing should aim for the big three teams rather than complain about the B-teams.

    13. It comes out as a bit whiney from cyril, but I agree, this is one of the biggest threats of the F1 future. I really hope they can sort something out with the rules, because its a very unhealthy situation with the big teams also controlling the rest of the grid.

    14. He’s completely right. The main problem with B-teams is not that they’re fast, the problem is they’ll never be allowed to be as fast as the A-team. So almost half the grid now consists of teams which don’t really compete but take away prize money and publicity from the teams that do want to compete, handicaping their ability to grow.

    15. As I said earlier Abiteboul should just get on with at this point. But may I add that I agree having a B team offers a huge advantage over singe team entrants.
      Yes as Abiteboul pointed out they can and will get technical support from the A team, giving them an advantage over other mid field teams.
      But it also potenually works the other way as I mentioned last yr. The B team can be run as a real time test bed for new parts, as we did see from the Torro Rosso/Honda deal. This has reduced Red Bulls development times considerably I would say.

    16. Engine are ‘the largest car manufacturer in F1’ .

      Shouldn’t they be eyeing the other manufacturers and not lumping themselves in the same category as McLaren and Williams? Spend more or get out! (at least under the current rules anyway!)

      1. Should obviously read:
        Renault are ‘the largest car manufacturer in F1’ .

        … time for coffee.

        1. When I think of Renault I don’t think of “engine”, unless I see a Renault-powered car with a plume of smoke coming out the tailpipe.

          All kidding aside though, I agree with your statement. Renault are one of only three proper works teams in the sport currently (although I suppose Red Bull counts now since Honda doesn’t currently field their own car) so make that one of four. They need to act like a manufacturer now… it’s been years since they took over the failing Lotus team so the midfield mentality needs to go. Put up or shut up, Cyril!

          Hope your coffee was good! :-)

    17. This guy is blaming the others for the bad car they have produced given all the money and manufacturer support he have. This guy is really a joke.

    18. It would be fun to have an eight car grid.

    Comments are closed.