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F1 teams unhappy over key FIA technical chief links to Renault

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Officials from a number of Formula 1 teams have made no secret of their frustration after reports emerged in Malaysia that FIA technical chief Marcin Budkowski could be set to join Renault.

Budkowski has been the main point of contact for teams with technical queries in F1 as the FIA’s technical chief, but handed in his resignation earlier this week.

The FIA immediately placed Budkowski on gardening leave for three months, but reports from multiple outlets on Friday claimed he is poised to join Renault’s works team.

Given Budkowski has been privy to intimate technical details regarding car design details for all teams, concerns have been raised by many about the knowledge he would take to Renault and its possible usage.

“We take major issue with that if he does end up with another team,” Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner said.

“Obviously in these individuals you place an enormous amount of trust. In the role that Marcin has been responsible for he has been in an extremely privileged position and extremely recently he has been in people’s wind tunnels and looking at intimate details of knowledge of next year’s cars.

“I think three months’ notice period for him to then turn up in a competitor team in Formula One is entirely inappropriate. I certainly hope that isn’t the case and I’m sure it will get discussed quite seriously at the next strategy group meeting.”

Force India commercial chief Otmar Szafnauer took issue to the short gardening leave period, believing it to go against the usual year-long stint on the sidelines for most in F1.

“I think three months is nowhere near long enough. I think a year [is right],” Szafnauer said.

“I mean, it has to be long enough such that the technology that he is aware of becomes, if not obsolete, then not leading edge. There are some sporting regulations as well that prohibit us from selling current-year cars for exactly the same reason.

“The cars have to be at least one year before we can dispose of them and it’s for that reason and I think notice periods should follow along the same lines.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff added: “But we need to look at the timings, we need to be transparent with the FIA and give them access.

“In order to have the full trust of the teams, it’s important to have a certain stability and understanding how quick somebody can leave the FIA and join another competitive team.”

Renault is yet to make any comment regarding Budkowski or his arrival at the team.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool