With tissue on nose, Renault punches back

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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

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_mg_

From another Autosport interview (http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/118171) Cyril also said: “We have been pushing an aggressive and late development programme over the winter,” said Abiteboul. “What we have done is shortcut and bypass the important steps in engine development. That means some of the stuff you should be doing on the dyno, you end up doing on the track. “That’s not really the way forward, but it is good learning for everyone who was pushing for this strategy. “I think it is no secret that Red Bull in particular is very aggressive in their development strategy. They try to get us to… Read more »

jakobusvdl

from the discussions during the F1 practice coverage this weekend (Malaysia) it looks like you might be right mg. The commentators were saying that Renault & RBR had gone back to power unit mapping that had been used in testing and this had resulted in a more drivable car. Also interesting to see the interviews with Christian Horner and Cyril Abiteboul, both trying not to stir up the ‘liargate’ comments anymore, but neither prepared to back away. I’m sure if RBR get a couple of decent results, it will all be forgotten and everyone will be great mates again…….unless Toro… Read more »

Andreas

While The Sun can hardly be called the most solid source in the world, if the quotes are correct, they are rather worrying. Flat out calling your customer’s chief designer a liar will usually not lead to anything good. This is starting to look like a relationship blow up in public, which never reflects well on any of the involved. In a word, “ouch”.

Jeff

As an observer, I’ve felt Red Bull’s long marginalized Renault’s contribution. RBR touted the Renault fuel efficiency, but always jabbed with a power deficit comment. Newey and the other chassis engineers were regularly praised, but press conferences said little about the engine: Kubica mentioning an all Renault engine’d podium surrounded by Vettle/Webber was quite telling. The Infiniti branding was another shot in the face towards Renault. Negative press coupled with shrinking exposure? Pooh for Renault With the power unit age, RBR has crucified Renault. Fair play, the criticism seems deserved, yet isn’t the more positive approach, press/sponsor and team harmony/productivity-wise,… Read more »

jakobusvdl

Slightly off topic but……..does anyone know how the RBR, Renault & Infiniti thing works?
Nissan own Infiniti, Renault & Nissan are partners, so I’d assumed Infiniti sponsorship of RBR was just marketing for Renault/Nissan’s prestige brand.
Is that correct, if so why isn’t the Power unit branded as Infiniti??

Negative Camber

That’s my understanding as well. The partnership was meant to use Infiniti as the premium brand and technology partner to RBR. Hence the name on the car.

Jeff

Jakobusvdl, sorry, your message got lost in my folder mess. In any case, NC might have the insight pertaining to RBR and Nissan/Renault’s involvement with it. That doesn’t make sense to me, as Renault and Nissan are separate companies, joined at the hip and increasingly incestuous, but still distinct. As I understand it, the Infiniti sub brand is exempt from the CMF shared-architecture scaling Nissan/Renault employ, and although Mr. Ghosn and Co. must have ok’d the Infiniti branding, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was below-surface or even direct grumbling from the Renault camp. I recall some journalists hinting as… Read more »

jakobusvdl

Thanks Jeff, you would think that the guys who sign the cheques would sort these things out, and make sure the branding, shirt logo’s and messages all line up.

thomin

How about renaming Red Bull Racing in Red Nose Racing…it’s fitting in more than one way. Not only did they get a bruised nose, this most recent row yet again looks more like a circus act than what a racing team should do, only they don’t raise money for a charity but for Bernie…then again, he desperately needs the cash in order to pay for his daughters’ multi million Dollar mansions (and lifestyle), so I guess it’s all right. Next thing you know is that they’re not in it for the sport but to sell soft drinks…oh, wait…

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