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F1 | Abiteboul gave a fiery response to Szafnauer over Alonso testing in Abu Dhabi

Cyril Abiteboul fires back and defends Alonso's participation in the young drivers' tests in Abu Dhabi, claiming that he would find a complaint from Racing Point “quite ironic".

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F1 | Abiteboul gave a fiery response to Szafnauer over Alonso testing in Abu Dhabi
Fuente imagen: f1.com

The presence of Fernando Alonso in the young drivers’ test triggered the annoyance of rival F1 teams McLaren, Racing Point and Ferrari. The outfits complained about the lobbying completed by Renault to allow the Spaniard to take part in the session, which initially was reserved to drivers who "must be in possession of an International A Licence; and unless otherwise approved by the FIA, not have competed in more than two F1 world championship races during their career."

Rivals rose against the sporting advantage given to Alonso and RenaultRacing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer commented on the matter, outlining his disbelief and hinting at the team potentially lodging a claim.

"I've got to understand the rules" said Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer.

"I was surprised to see Fernando being allowed to test, so we have got to have that discussion with the FIA. I think the rules are pretty clear - it's a young driver test and a two-time world champion almost in his forties or in his forties to me isn't a young driver.

"I've got to understand what the rules are first and foremost, and then see what we do thereafter."

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul promptly responded to Szafnauer, as the purpose of having Alonso in the car is stricly related to getting a headstart on the 2021 season from January 1st. As he fired back towards Racing Point’s boss, the Frenchman refused to mince his words while questioning the legality of the RP20.

"There is an indication of young drivers, plus anyone that the FIA will give permission to. And that's in the absolute right of the FIA to do that, so if Otmar wants to build a claim against the FIA, that would be quite rich, keeping in mind that we will know that they have an illegal car.

"We have accepted to settle that one. But if you want to have a go now at the FIA, I would find it quite ironic."

"Why is it necessary?" he said. "I mean, I'm going to be very straightforward. What's necessary is to give the team the absolute best possible platform to build upon for next year.

Abiteboul denied that the decision to have Alonso on track is based on commercial grounds, reassuring that its sole purpose is building a solid foundation ahead of 2021.

"No one is here for anything other than absolute performance, and when teams are not here for performance, they are doing things for commercial purpose, and when they are doing that for commercial purpose, there are all sorts of critics in relation to that.

"Clearly we are not doing that with Fernando for commercial purposes, we are doing that for the sport, for our own competitiveness. And again, that's the case of every single entity.

"So, we've been very straightforward, we've been clear with the FIA, clear with F1 about what we were doing."

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