Renault expects Liberty Media to take steps to prevent Formula 1’s biggest outfits from using ‘B teams’ to get around restrictions on spending and development.
F1’s commercial rights holder intends to introduce a budget cap from the 2021 season. But there are concerns some manufacturer teams could get around it by linking up with their engine customers to share developments costs.
The topic arose when Liberty approached Force India’s rival teams to gain support for them to continue competing in the championship as a new entry following the team’s sale. Renault was among those which sought assurances that approving Force India’s return would not lead to them becoming a ‘B team’ of engine supplier Mercedes.
“If Force India is becoming a junior team of Mercedes, allowing Mercedes to transfer resources or workload and therefore improving their competitive situation vis-à-vis a future budget cap, that’s a concern because we don’t have that set-up,” Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul told RaceFans in an exclusive interview.
“Basically that would sanction the fact that you need that type of set-up, because that would be available for Mercedes and that’s already available for Ferrari, and Red Bull have the capacity also [and] assets available. So all three top teams will be in that situation and we are not. So that’s a major concern.”
Abiteboul believes Liberty Media’s planned changes to how F1’s revenues are distributed will prevent the rise of ‘B teams’.
“If Liberty do what they say they will do, which I have no reason to doubt, which is a more equitable financial distribution, I don’t see the necessity of keeping on having some senior team, super team, junior team.”
Renbault believes that once there is “more equitable financial distribution” F1 will “come back to something where you have 10 constructor teams with 10 factories.”
“Apparently they will, the same way as we do. Frankly I have no other assurances than that, but I feel that we can trust people like Chase Carey and Ross Brawn when they say something.
“We share the same vision of the way things should be. We’ll see. I have absolutely nothing, there is no secret arrangement between us, apart from gentlemen’s discussion, but I believe that we can trust what they say.”
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