Cyril Abiteboul, the Managing Director of Renault Sport F1 has thrown shade at Kevin Magnussen in what we perceive to be a hurling of ungrateful, sour grapes.
Abiteboul, who manages the Renault team was highly critical of the Haas-bound Kevin Magnussen, saying,
“Personally, I was disappointed in Magnussen, for his performances and his behaviour. Kevin is a talented driver, but he lacks discipline. Also, he tries all too often to make excuses.”
– Cyril Abiteboul
Was the 7th place performance in Russia disappointing? Or the 10th place in Singapore? Without these points finishes, Renault would have finished the 2016 season 10th in the Constructors, behind Sauber. What’s more alarming about Abiteboul’s statement is that in his role, he should be protecting his drivers. This statement not only criticises a driver who brought the team a significant additional Constructors budget for his points-finishes, but also suggests that Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer better not piss Abiteboul off this season, as he’s clearly willing to feed a driver’s reputation to the sharks.
Magnussen was by no means a stand-out driver in 2016, neither was Jolyon Palmer. We can be almost certain that this wasn’t down to attitude or driver talent – more down to the lack of development on the RS16 chassis. To accredit blame on a driver leaving the team is just too easy – it’s a pretty transparent get out of jail card.
Haas have acquired Magnussen’s services for 2017, and the American outfit were professional in their response,
“Kevin is a well-respected racer, and I put the emphasis on racer. Everybody is looking forward to working with him this year.”
– Guenther Steiner
It’s a low-blow from Abiteboul, but obviously doesn’t represent the Enstone team beneath him, who we are sure would be more appreciative of Magnussen’s results last season. In 2017, the Renault team will probably be closer to Haas on-track and the karmic implications of Abiteboul’s comments will probably see Danish determination whizz past the French Manufacturer on a few occasions. Hey, in Abiteboul’s position, we’d be annoyed if a newbie to the sport beat a works team of heritage too.