Winning five races on the trot, Mercedes has taken over the role of Formula 1 dominator from Red Bull who won four titles in a row. The defending champions have struggled this year but it isn’t down to the chassis according to team boss Christian Horner.
Horner believes that Renault waited too late to begin development of their new V6 turbo engine and hybrid system telling Sky Sports:
“It’s quite simple really: we’ve had a massive engine regulation change and Renault have turned up and they weren’t as ready as some of their competitors were,” the Red Bull Team Principal told Sky Sports F1 at the Spanish GP.
“So we’ve been playing catch-up. They’re working tremendously hard at it and we’re slowly closing that gap down.
“As you can see we’re got a very good chassis, I just think that they started too late. It’s as simple as that.”
I find that a little odd as Renault have been used as a defense of the new regulations and sound of F1 by the FIA saying that they had to change to this new hybrid format because Renault was threatening to leave the sport if they didn’t make changes more relevant to their road car format—meaning a V6 turbo.
For an organization who was bullying F1 into changing over threats of leaving, I find the notion of them being unprepared a bit strange. One could argue that they were not completely committed due to the timing of the announcement of the new engine format but that doesn’t really hold water as they have been telling people about the change since Max Mosley was president of the FIA. Back then, it was a 4-cylinder turbo being discussed. Point being, the change was coming and Renault knew it.
Is this a case of finger-pointing? Assigning blame? Simple truth or something else? If we changed the format of F1 in order to keep Renault in the sport, it is a bit frustrating to know they were completely unprepared and waited too late to even create a decent system of which they demanded F1 use in order to keep them in the game.
Even Johnny Herbert is stumped:
“That’s a very good question and perhaps one you should ask Renault because they were the guys who pushed very hard for this regulation change, so one would have thought that they’d have been the most prepared for it.”
Color me reactionary but demanding something and then being completely caught off guard and ill-prepared is a bit of a slap in the face given that we have to endure such a drastic change in sound and experience in order to accommodate Renault and keep them happy and seated at the big boy table.