Renault Formula 1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul has slammed the "stupid" rule that obliges drivers to start races on tyres used in Q2.
In 2019, the top three teams had such a pace advantage that their drivers routinely qualified on medium tyres in Q2, often leaving the four drivers in the rest of the top 10 on softs, while those behind had a free choice - which cost Renault points in Abu Dhabi.
A plan to drop the Q2 tyre rule was discussed by the F1 Strategy Group, but because the April 30 deadline for 2020 sporting regulation changes had passed, unanimity was required.
In the end, the top teams and some of their satellites voted against any change, and so far the rule also remains in place for 2021, even though unanimity is not needed at this stage.
"It was more or less the worst scenario in terms of a race," Abiteboul told Autosport of the team's Abu Dhabi result after Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg had qualified eighth and 10th.
"In the constructors' championship it was fine, and we secured [fifth].
"But 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.
"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.
"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.
"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."
Abiteboul says that his drivers were also "screwed by the fact that DRS was not working at the start" in Abu Dhabi.
Renault's executive director Marcin Budkowski agreed that the Q2 tyre rule played a key role in the team's difficult race at the Yas Marina track.
"We were protecting fifth position, which was the main objective," he told Autosport.
"Disappointing not to be in the points, but it was a chaotic race in terms of stops and tyre degradation.
"Unfortunately with the tyre regulation, starting seventh to 10th is a massive handicap - we saw it last year [in Abu Dhabi].
"McLaren made it work, but we were fighting with them all race, and basically it came to the last few corners.
"Compared to [Sergio] Perez and [Daniil] Kvyat, we watched them drive past, basically."
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