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Racing Point 'young driver' moan "rich" when it has "illegal car" - Abiteboul

Racing Point 'young driver' moan "rich" when it has "illegal car" - Abiteboul

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Racing Point 'young driver' moan "rich" when it has "illegal car" - Abiteboul

Racing Point 'young driver' moan "rich" when it has "illegal car" - Abiteboul

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul has criticised Racing Point for contesting Fernando Alonso's permission to drive in the season-ending 'young driver' test.

Abiteboul has reignited the feud between the two teams from earlier this season by claiming that rival team boss Otmar Szafnauer's comments are "rich" given "we all know they have an illegal car".

Szafnauer said he was confused by the move to allow Renault-bound Alonso to get a taste of 2020 F1 machinery in a test that is supposed to be for rookies, stating "a two-time world champion almost in his 40s, to me, isn’t a young driver".

Szafnauer indicated he would seek a clarification from the FIA to ascertain the rules, suggesting he would push for Sebastian Vettel to be included ahead of his move to the team for next year when it rebrands as Aston Martin.

But Abiteboul insisted the decision to allow Alonso to run in Abu Dhabi is completely down to the FIA's discretion and explained: “There is an indication of young drivers, of development drivers, anyone that the FIA will give permission to.

"Again, that is in the absolute right of the FIA to do that. So if Otmar [Szafnauer] wants to make a claim against the FIA that would be quite rich, keeping in mind that we all know that they have an illegal car."

The two teams were embroiled in a war of words earlier in the season when Renault repeatedly protested Racing Point's 'Pink Mercedes', claiming the design was a clear copy of last year's title-winning Mercedes car.

That action resulted in the Silverstone-based team being fined €400,000 and docked 15 points.

"We have accepted that one but if he wants to have a go now at the FIA, I would find it quite ironic,” added Abiteboul.

Alonso will return to F1 with Renault next season after a two-year sabbatical. Part of the controversy of his permission to test is that many other drivers in new teams will not get a similar opportunity.

The young driver test is open to those drivers who have not started more than two F1 grands prix, although the rules were tweaked earlier this year to allow drivers to take part who were not competing in this year's championship.

Abiteboul was open about the fact Renault, that rebrands as Alpine next year, will be using the opportunity to maximise the performance of Alonso within the team, as well as obtaining his feedback from the experience to optimise the car for him ahead of the opening race.

“Why is it necessary?" questioned a rhetorical Abiteboul. "I am going to be very straightforward. Why this is necessary is to give the team the absolute best possible platform to build upon for next year.

"No-one is here for anything other than absolute performance. When teams are not here for performance, they are doing things for commercial purposes and when they are doing that there is also a simulation to that.

“Clearly we are not doing that with Fernando for commercial purposes, we are doing that for our own competitiveness and, again, that is okay."

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