Maybe I’m alone here but I reckoned Red Bull team boss Christian Horner’s comments about Renault Sport F1 were born from frustration and a bit of truth about the lack of performance from the 2015 power unit when he said they were “a bit of a mess”.
I didn’t take it to heart if I’m honest. I understood Horner’s frustration and with the press release from Renault, effectively, stating they were having difficulty and were down on power, I figured it was all within context and something that needs a resolution.
I am also keenly aware that Adrian Newey has stepped back from being completely steeped in Red Bull’s F1 design program—this doesn’t mean he isn’t involved, just not at the levels he has been in the past according to Red Bull. Given this truism, I can imagine that chassis development was going to be slightly different his year and perhaps a bit more of a challenge.
Sure, Renault has a bloody nose and a tissue pressed firmly against it but with all that said, it does surprise me a bit that Renault have fired shots back at Newey and Red Bull over the comments that were made. Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport’s managing director, said:
“It’s hard to have a partner who lies,” he was quoted by The Sun.
“Adrian is a charming man and an outstanding engineer but he has spent his life criticising his engine manufacturers. And he’s too old to change.”
Fair enough. I guess two can play that game but I’m not sure Renault have taken the big brand blow, from my vantage point anyway, they may have feared. Most F1 fans know that it takes a good chassis and engine combination and there is no way I would lump all of Red Bull’s troubles on the engine. Even Mercedes has to develop and tweak a chassis to make it work. If that weren’t the case, Williams or Force India would be on par with the works team.
Finding the right combination wins titles and Red Bull know this as well as Renault. They may be in a challenging situation but the chassis has to be perfect too. What I will concede is that Renault were threatening to leave F1 if it didn’t make the change to hybrid engines. They are eating crow now. You wanted it? You got it. So deal with it.
There is little sense in getting cheeky with Red Bull at this point because you wanted this new format and even threatened to throw the toys from the pram if you didn’t get it. Now you have it and you are getting beat but that’s life in F1. Horner doesn’t like it any more than Renault does so in my mind, you both should be saving your energy and applying it to solutions, not criticism.
I think he could have simply left his comments at this and be done with it:
“Our figures have shown that the lap-time deficit between Red Bull and Mercedes in Melbourne was equally split between driveability issues, engine performance and chassis performance. It’s therefore the overall package that needs some help and we have been working with the team to move forward.”
Ha Tip: Sky Sports F1