25 March 2015
F1 Malaysian Grand Prix: Renault slams Red Bull, accuses it of ‘lies’
Red Bull and Renault's increasingly fragile relationship reaches a new nadir as the latter accuses its partner of 'lies' over engine criticism
Renault Sport manager Cyril Abiteboul has hit back at criticisms levelled towards it by F1 partner Red Bull Racing, accusing it of telling lies in the wake of its disappointing opening event in Australia.
Though the pair won four consecutive world titles together between 2010 and 2013, Renault has struggled to challenge Mercedes following a change in the engine regulations, its V6 hybrid power unit generally regarded as being down on power and relatively unreliable
However, though Renault had expected to make a step forward ahead of 2015, Red Bull instead found itself further adrift – and comfortably behind the improved Ferrari powered cars -, with Christian Horner publically lambasting its engine partner as the primary reason for the backward step.
Even so, though Renault has accepted its start to the season was below expectations, it has taken umbrage with the assertion – particularly from Adrian Newey - that the car's lack of pace is down to the engine alone.
Suggesting Red Bull's margin to the front is equally down to both the engine and deficiencies in the RB11 chassis in the official Renault Sport pre-Malaysian Grand Prix communication, Abiteboul went one step further according to Auto Hebdo, accusing Red Bull of unfairly pinning all of its problems on the manufacturer.
“It's hard to have a partner who lies,” he said. “Adrian [Newey] is a charming gentleman and an outstanding engineer, but he spent his life in criticising his engine suppliers. He's too old to change.”
Fittingly, the Horner and Abiteboul will go face-to-face in front of the media after both being lined up for the Friday press conference, prompting the latter to post this tweet...
The increasingly public spat between Red Bull and Renault comes at a time when the latter is believed to be exploring options to exit its deal with Red Bull in favour of purchasing an existing team, rumoured to be Toro Rosso or Force India, to return as a constructor.
Where that would leave Red Bull, however, remains to be seen, since it is unlikely to enter into a customer engine partnership with Mercedes, Ferrari or Honda. As such, the firm could use the opportunity to entice a new engine supplier – namely VW, a manufacturer it has close ties with – or look into developing its own power unit.
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