Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul was “exasperated” with F1’s top teams after they reneged on an agreement to scrap the rule that requires the top-10 drivers on the grid to start their race on the compound used to set their fastest time in Q2.

The pace advantage held by Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull has often allowed the trio to outpace its rivals in Q2 using Pirelli’s medium tyre, leaving the remainder of those rounding off the top-10 on the grid on soft rubber, while the drivers behind were also shod with the medium compound.

Earlier this year, in a Strategy Group meeting, all teams apparently agreed to drop the Q2 tyre rule. However, because the April 30th deadline for changes to the 2020 sporting rules had passed, unanimity was required.

When the vote was cast, several teams did a U-turn and voted against the changes, a change of heart that enraged Abiteboul.

“Again we saw a demonstration of that silly regulation of having to start on the soft tyres, which gives such an advantage to the guys behind,” the riled Frenchman told

“It was agreed in the Strategy Group, everyone agreed. Then when it comes to a vote, all the arrangements seemed to come back, and frankly I’m exasperated by that.

“There was a lobby from the top teams and their junior teams to stop a change, because it’s a regulation that was engineered by the top teams to protect them.

“I don’t think they need it, but it’s an extra protection.”

Abiteboul viewed the vote as case of discrimination against F1’s “middle class”.

“It’s also something that’s helping teams that are customers or are affiliated to the top teams, and the ones that are squeezed are what I call the ‘middle class’, it’s us and McLaren in most cases.

“In fairness, sometimes it’s been to our advantage, when we were outside the top 10 – Mexico and Suzuka for example. But it’s not because it’s sometimes to our advantage that we should keep it.

“It’s a stupid regulation, it needs to go away. No one is doing anything about it, and frankly I am exasperated to see it happening again.”

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