Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says the current pause on racing doesn’t mean it is willing to look past Racing Point’s contentious 2020 car, believing it to have wider implications for the incoming budget cap.

Racing Point raised eyebrows with the launch of its RP20 at the start of the year, which from the outset bears all the hallmarks of last year’s title-winning Mercedes W10.

Though Racing Point insists the design purely based on its own interpretation of the Mercedes design because it uses a number of its components already, rival teams were quick to argue that it was against the spirit of the regulations for what it means to be a constructor.

The debate is set to be brought into further focus through the introduction of a budget cap with Renault’s Abiteboul arguing such data sharing will be hard to monitor under the current parameters.

“The meetings have been focused on short term survival and medium and long term sustainability of the sport, which is exactly what needs to happen,” he told Formula 1's official website. “It’s important we side-line the most contentious topics we had over the winter. I’m sure these topics will come back as they are directly connected to the business model of F1.”

It’s all good and nice to agree on the budget cap level but if you can pool your resources, pool your research and development between the teams, it means the levels of budget cap we are talking about are not exactly the ones we are talking about so to a certain degree we’re talking about that.

"We’re not talking directly about the Racing Point case, we’re talking about what it means to be a constructor and what is a business case of being a constructor, that we are talking about and that is an interesting point.

Renault as a constructor and engine supplier stands to lose most if F1 shifts to a more customer-based model given it is currently mired in the mid-field against the teams that stand to benefit, even if it hopes to take a big step forward closer to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull when the season does get underway.

With Racing Point – together with Renault-engine customer McLaren – arguably Renault’s biggest rivals for at least fourth in the standings, Abiteboul is calling for more clarity of what is or isn’t permitted.

“We will be thinking and talking about Racing Point legality later. By saying that, I’m not putting any threat, I’m just saying that we need to think about a bit more strategically in the current circumstance.”

 

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