Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says Formula 1 needs a code of conduct to prevent the sport from becoming “the Wild West” after Racing Point’s protest against his team’s car.
Racing Point alleged Renault had a brake bias system that contravened technical regulations, and although the protest led to the system being deemed legal in that sense, the stewards decided it constituted a driver aid and disqualified both cars from the Japanese Grand Prix results. While Abiteboul accepts the subjectiveness in terms of driver aids and says it has been used on the Renault for a number of years, he believes the fact that a protest was lodged instead of a technical directive issued by the FIA could make the sport tough to police in future.
“There is no point in being disappointed, I’m just acknowledging what was true before is not true anymore,” Abiteboul said. “And I’m worried. I’m worried that there are two sets of regulations and a third one (financial) coming, so tomorrow if I am hiring an accountant from another team who is telling me something that is going on, I could claim a breach against the financial regulations and that’s going to be a mess to police.
“Because let’s not forget that the remedy against a breach of the financial regulations is to revisit the constructors’ standings. There are also consequences in terms of prize funds, sponsorship and bonus payments to the staff — how do you deal with that?
“In my opinion as the regulations become more and more rigid and structured, we need to have some form of code of conduct that maybe needs to be written rather than up in the air and open to interpretation so that it doesn’t become the Wild West. And it is starting to become the Wild West in my opinion.”
With Renault’s board admitting the F1 operation is currently under review — alongside all activities — Abiteboul adds any decision to continue in the sport will only be driven by whether the company is happy with the next set of bilateral agreements offered to it by F1.
“I’m not saying the financial regulations aren’t a good set of regulations,” Abiteboul said. “As you know, we fully supported them since Day 1, I think it is the best avenue to put a bit of common sense in the way the teams are spending and to create a show that is more dynamic. We fully support that and we fully support the new prize fund that is more equitable, we fully support the new set of sporting and technical regulations that are going in the right direction.
“I guess we need to make sure that there is some form of code of conduct between the participants. That will be taken into account by Renault, which will be presented a new contract for the period 2021-2025 and we will assess whether we want to sign up to those terms. Those new terms are better terms than the ones we have now, so I have no reason to believe that they will be rejected, but if they are not accepted, they are not accepted.”