A car launch is a time to feel optimistic about your new challenger, share the new look and design with the world and take an opportunity to talk up your team’s chances in 2017. IF you’re Renault Sport F1’s Cyril Abiteboul, you also share some concerns you have over the “arms race” you feel the new season will be and lament for such teams as Force India and their inability to keep up do to its underfunded position.
“I think this season will be an arms race, and I really feel for the teams who are under-resourced,” said Abiteboul.
“When I see this car that we are presenting, it is not the car that we are testing in Barcelona.
“And the car in Barcelona will not be the car in Melbourne. So race-by-race we have got introduction of new parts.
“Frankly I have been in a small team [Caterham], it was not too successful, and I really feel for the teams who have to keep [money in mind].
“Resources will be very difficult for the small teams.
“I believe that most of the car build budget of a Force India will be gone by now, just to cope with the new regulations.
“That is also something that we are taking into account with the level of resources that we have – we should be easily capable of beating teams like Haas and Force India and so on.”
IF you’re Sahara Force India owner Vijay Mallya, you get slightly miffed at Abiteboul’s comments and offer a few choice words of your own.
“I read an article this morning that Cyril Abiteboul of Renault said that poor teams such as Force India were going to suffer in this arms race. Well, good luck to him,” Mallya said.
“He might have to eat his words. It’s not the amount of arms you have, it’s the quality of your weaponry.”
Force India launched its new VJM10 car today with a live stream on Sky Sports F1. They also took time to announce new sponsors and their 2017 driver lineup including Esteban Occon and Sergio Perez.
Force India is a team punching above its financial weight and while Abiteboul is possibly correct on the reliance on cash resources in 2017, Mallya’s team has been able to perform well and run mid-field with limited resources.
Very much like Williams F1, the team seems to have found a sweet spot between being competitive and in the points and yet sustainable through tough times. They dream big and live in reality and it has paid off with a 4th place in the constructors’ championship in 2016.
Abiteboul is most likely correct but I suspect Mallya is equally correct and perhaps the Renault boss may have picked the wrong “small team” to use as an example.
Hat Tip: Autosport