For a group that threatened to leave the sport unless the new hybrid engine formula was adopted, they do seem sensitive to criticism of its resulting product. Renault Sport F1 is a group of individuals who know how to build race-winning engines but that is a lot easier said than done. They now would like Red Bull to stop bad-mouthing them in public as it apparently is zapping their confidence.
Cyril Abiteboul has asked Red Bull to refrain from more public slating as it is damaging his group’s confidence telling AUTOSPORT:
“Now, each time we try and speed things up we immediately get sacked on track because of various issues. There’s a vicious circle we need to invert.
“We can only do that if we win small battles that will again build the confidence in ourselves, in individuals and in the people in our infrastructure.
“That is one of the difficulties we have with our relationship with Red Bull.
“When you are not one single team it is more difficult to again build up the confidence in a group than when you are completely integrated.
“That’s one of the things we are working on. We are trying to get Red Bull to support us rather than bash us publicly.”
It’s always a team effort but the amount of resources spent on a racing program is not pocket change and if you feel that a technical partner or supplier is the reason you are failing, the “team” become they, them and those folks.
It’s been 18 months since Red Bull have falling from the top of the heap and millions of dollars spent. Patience, like bank accounts, can run low on funds when you’re convinced your engine supplier is not progressing.
What is also difficult is that Renault hasn’t used its token for engine development and improvement and given its deficit to the field, it needs to make changes sooner rather than later. Red Bull most likely doesn’t feel it is incumbent upon them to build Renault’s confidence but you can understand Cyril’s point.
Clearly Renault Sport F1 is working diligently to remedy their performance shortfall but the time it is taking is not appealing to Red Bull. Abiteboul knows this is the real crux of the situation:
“In my opinion this is the biggest challenge I have had to deal with, to rebuild the confidence in Renault Sport F1.”
“It’s a Catch 22, that’s why at some point in time you have to stop running after a train that has already gone and to wait for the next train,” assessed Abiteboul.
“That’s why I said when I returned to Renault Sport last year it wouldn’t take one winter to catch up to Mercedes.
“It’s an obvious situation, but when I said that to Red Bull Racing it was not something they liked to hear.
“They’ve tried to induce us to work quicker, but if anything it has aggravated a situation that was very raw.
“We need to trust and listen to each other, rather than trying to change the natural course of things.”
Unfortunately that’s asking a lot from a team that won four titles and has no other engine option to date. On the flip side of the argument, because they have no other options for an engine supply, they may want to try to work together instead of continuing to slate Renault publicly—I think everyone knows the engine isn’t performing as either group wants.
Much of this is also down to the regulations which prevent engine development. It has frozen poor performance in place for both organizations and even with the token development system, the reality of catching Mercedes may not be realistic without more aggressive engine development or time…something neither group has much interest in underwriting.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT