The team manager Renault de F1, Cyril Abiteboul, has defended the decision of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to allow the Spanish Fernando Alonso, who will return to the top flight next season, participate in the Abu Dhabi test on December 15, originally intended for young pilots, as it is a question of "performance" y "Non-commercial".
The test in the Asian country was exclusively planned as a "rookie test", only open to pilots in possession of the international license A and who had not competed. "In more than two races of the Formula 1 World Championship during his career".
Subsequently, the FIA chose to allow Alonso and riders like the Swiss to participate Sebastien Buemi with Red Bull and to polish Robert Kubica with Alfa Romeo. Equipment like Racing Point, McLaren y Ferrari -which is now pressing to allow Spanish to participate Carlos Sainz- harshly questioned the decision.
“I was surprised to see that Fernando was allowed to participate. I think the rules are quite clear: it is a test for young drivers, and a two-time world champion with almost forty years of age is not a young driver for me "Said Otmar Szafnauer, head of Racing Point.
Abiteboul responded forcefully to Szafnauer. "If Otmar wants to make a claim against the FIA, it is that he will be quite rich, considering that we know that they have an illegal car", he affirmed, in relation to the fine of 400.000 euros and the 15 points in the championship to Racing Point for using brakes that did not comply with the regulations. "Trying to solve it at the FIA would be quite ironic."continued.
Renault asked the FIA for an exception to participate in the test. "Because it is necessary? I will be very clear. What is necessary is to give the team the best possible base on which to grow next year. Nobody is here for anything other than to achieve absolute performance, and when the teams are not here that's why they are doing things for commercial purposes, and when they do it for commercial purposes, there are all kinds of criticisms about it ” Indian.
“We are not doing this with Fernando for commercial purposes, we are doing it for sports, for our own competitiveness. We have been clear with the FIA and with Formula 1 about what we were doing ”, he continued. "It is still important for Fernando to get back in shape and stretch his legs," he added.
“I know it is the same for everyone. But again, that it is also one of the reasons we have asked for it. The FIA has given us permission; it focuses a lot on Fernando, more than on the development of the car ”, he stressed.
In addition, Abiteboul recalled that Renault has a long history of supporting young drivers, and that has been taken into account by the FIA. “I don't think we can be blamed for not doing much for young people. I don't think that many manufacturers have invested half of what we have invested in young drivers; we are financially supporting the pilots of our academy. And we have the Formula Renault Eurocup, a championship in which we have invested for 50 years "He said.
“More than 50% of the Formula 1 drivers today come from the ranks of the Formula Renault Europcup. We cannot be blamed for not investing in youth. But yes, this time we are thinking about next season, because we have to move from what has been a great relationship with Daniel Ricciardo to cultivating a new relationship with Fernando. We asked the FIA for permission, which has the absolute right to grant it, and they gave it to us. It is what it is, and people have to accept it ”, the team-manager ended.