Abiteboul: FIA are ‘losing the plot’

Date published: September 25 2019

Cyril Abiteboul believes some people at the FIA are "losing the plot".

Renault principal Cyril Abiteboul believes some people at the FIA are “losing the plot” following Daniel Ricciardo’s DQ from qualifying at the Singapore GP.

Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from qualifying in Singapore after his MGU-K spiked over the 120kW limit during Q1 when going over a kerb, a decision which infuriated the Australian due to him gaining no performance advantage at all from the incident.

Ricciardo would be forced to start P20 after qualifying P8, and Abiteboul was unhappy with the lack of leeway which is being shown towards breaches of the technical regulations at a time in Formula 1 where penalties for in-race incidents are becoming less extreme, even accusing the series’ governing body of “losing the plot”.

“It’s a bit sad because we all know the fans want less penalties, that’s obvious,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

“It’s strange because on the one side you can see that on the race track [race director] Michael Masi is coming with a new doctrine, the black and white flag, a sort of yellow card, so we’re trying to be sensible about the regulations and the impact on the sport and the show.

“And on the other side we have this, and for me there is disconnect between the two that we can only regret because we were on the receiving end, and obviously you can’t expect anything else from me.

“In my opinion in the future there has to be a discussion with the FIA on whether we want to follow more that system that is going on on the race track, or that strict application based on machines, not based on people.

“We will be able to save lots of money when we will be able to be governed by machines in the future.

“We’re trying to be a bit less black and white on track. There are other precedents. The same thing happened to Pierre Gasly [a fuel flow irregularity in Baku] earlier in the season. I think some of the people at the FIA are losing the plot, in my opinion.”

Masi responded to make it clear that breaches of the technical regulations are black and white in the FIA’s eyes.

“When it comes to technical infringements, Martin Brundle put it best, you’re either pregnant or you’re not,” he said.

“It’s one of those. I think everyone knows when it comes to technical infringements of that nature what the outcome is. You either are or you aren’t.

“I can feel for Daniel, it was an error, and sadly it is what it is. Personally I think we’re treading on dangerous territory when we’re starting with technical infringements in particular building margins in upon margins.”

As part of the FIA’s system for dealing with such breaches, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer will often warn teams of an issue before heading straight to the stewards, and Renault had reportedly already been warned for similar spikes during practice sessions earlier in the season.

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