Formula 1: Drive To Survive — Episode 5, The End Of The Affair Review

The End Of The Affair

By Mark

This time round we are with Renault at the Austrian GP with the focus very much on Daniel Riccardo.

If you remember he joined Renault in 2018 and was set for a long-term relationship with them, bringing them up to the level of those teams at the front of the grid.

However, 2019 was not a great season for him and, with Carlos Sainz moving from McLaren to Ferrari to replace Vettel, Riccardo announces he’s leaving Renault to take the vacant McLaren seat.

This does not go down well at all with Cyril Abiteboul, the team principal. He is very obviously hurt, believing that Riccardo has made a bad decision.

In all honesty, this is not a good episode for Abiteboul, he comes across as a petulant child, even going as far as not speaking to Riccardo since the announcement. Riccardo, lets not forget, is widely considered the nicest guy in F1; always smiling, always happy.

For his part, Riccardo says his focus is very much on Renault, not McLaren, and proves the point by finishing fourth in the race. Though this only makes Cyril even more miserable, presumably at the thought of what might have been.

We are also back talking about the Mercedes/Racing Point copying issue. Abiteboul is the first of the team principles to push the agenda and the first to lodge a protest against the brake ducts of the Racing Point car.

This anger’s owner Lawrence Stroll and the team continue to say they have done nothing wrong. The FIA make things as clear as mud with the eventual announcement that the Racing Point team will be deducted 7.5 points and fined 200,000 Euros but are still allowed to use the brake ducts…so, that makes sense, right?

Abiteboul, as you’d expect, is not happy with the judgement, questioning the reasoning, the meaning and what 200,000 Euros really means to a man of Stroll’s wealth.

As I said, he doesn’t come out of this episode at all whilst Riccardo appears as he always does, laughing, joking (he is at the start of nearly ever episode smiling and saying “hello Netflix”).

As for the Racing Point saga, well, it rumbled on and as with most things Formula 1 you suspect there’s more to it then what we are told, but at least that’s the end of it, right?

Originally published at on March 13, 2021.



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