Renault are victims of one of Formula 1’s latest political battles as their rivals have blocked Fernando Alonso from testing in Abu Dhabi.
Renault have been exploring any and all possibilities to give the returning two-time World Champion as much time on track as possible ahead of the 2021 season.
So much so, Renault were seeking special dispensation from the FIA to allow Alonso to take part in the ‘young driver test’ at the Yas Marina circuit following the 2020 season finale. Alonso is 39 years old.
But rather than the FIA turning down the request outright, Ferrari, McLaren and Racing Point are being named as the rival teams who have stepped in to try and block Alonso from taking part.
“It was the usual stuff of trying to play any little game possible, Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
“But most teams are more pragmatic. We just need to hope the FIA will be. Renault does so much for young drivers.
The Renault team boss confirmed via Gazzetta dello Sport that Racing Point were one of the teams who got involved in this particular power play.
He said: “We noticed a collaborative spirit, and we believed it was possible and then a team got in the way, not granting approval.
“It was the Racing Point. And so we won’t have Nando on the track.”
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) October 30, 2020
McLaren boss Andreas Seidl was reluctant to speak about the details of the Alonso conversation discussed at the recent F1 Commisson meeting, but did say that he did not see how the Spaniard fits in with the criteria of the post-season test.
“I can’t speak about what has been discussed in the F1 Commission,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com.
“Because it says in big letters at the bottom of the agenda that it is confidential.
“I can only speak about how we see the young driver test in Abu Dhabi. It is clear that we all voted for a regulation change at the beginning of the year when this pandemic started, which ended up in these tests clearly being defined in the sporting regulations having a sole purpose of testing young drivers.
“I think in the rules it says that it cannot be drivers that have done a maximum of two Grands Prix. And then it gives the opportunity for FIA as well, at their own or sole discretion, to make exceptions there.
“But again, it doesn’t change the overall sole purpose of this test, which is a young driver test. So I think there’s really not a lot to be discussed on this topic.
“Fernando is a great F1 race driver, with a great record of success. And I can’t really see how he fits into the sole purpose of a young driver.
“On the other hand, if he were to get defined as a young driver, to be honest, I think it would be simply a great message for all of us, because I consider myself also as a young F1 team member, which makes me feel good! At the same time it does not justify that this test will go ahead.”
Alonso, who is with the Renault team at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, will be driving a two-year-old Renault RS18 on November 4 and November 5 in Bahrain.