18 September 2015
F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Vettel: Renault success is quickly forgotten
Sebastian Vettel says he takes no pleasure in watching Red Bull and Renault head for an acrimonious split given their considerable success together
Sebastian Vettel admits he is 'sad' to see his former Red Bull Racing team on the brink of an acrimonious split with engine supplier Renault, saying their success together has been forgotten all-too-easily.
Vettel emerged as the dominant force of F1 between 2010 and 2013, the German notching up four consecutive world championship titles in the Renault-powered Red Bull car before switching to Ferrari for the 2015 season.
Achievements that were in part made possible by the successful development of innovative technology, most notably the pioneering but now outlawed exhaust blown diffuser, Red Bull's fortunes have dwindled since 2014's change in technical regulations as Renault struggles to get a grasp on the latest V6 Hybrid technology.
Indeed, with Red Bull airing its frustrations with Renault in the public domain on numerous occasions in 2015, the relationship has now seemingly reached an irreparable stage with Renault boss Carlos Ghosn declaring it is 'renegotiating' its deal with its customer teams (Red Bull and Toro Rosso) that will essentially result in a formal split a year before the original contract was due to conclude.
It is an acrimonious divorce that Vettel says he takes no pleasure in witnessing, saying Renault's troubles in 2014 and 2015 have too easily overshadowed the huge success it achieved, particularly its ability to develop ground-breaking technology.
“It's sad to hear, because it was part of the majority of the partnership,” he said. “We had very successful years, which unfortunately now gets forgotten very quickly.
“Renault has done a fantastic job in the past, supplying us with a strong engine, supplying us with the latest technique which was required to be competitive when we had the era of blown exhausts.
“We had one of the best ones, the most advanced, so there's a lot of things people tend to forget now which people tend to forget. I hope they stay in the sport.”
While Red Bull's engine options are seemingly limited to a Ferrari customer deal after Mercedes ruled out supplying such a key rival, Renault's immediate plans for the future remain unclear.
It is well-known that Renault is in talks to take back control of the Lotus team, six years after it sold its former factory outfit to the Genii Capital Investment firm. However, after months of negotiations and no sign of a formal agreement as yet, there remain fears that Renault could simply withdraw from F1 altogether, particularly as Ghosn says it will not supply any customers next year.
A Renault exit would potentially put the financially-precarious Lotus under threat, though it would still have an engine supply deal with Mercedes. With Manor rumoured to be switching to year-old Mercedes engines for 2016, Ferrari nonetheless faces the potential of supplying five teams in 2016 – itself, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Sauber and the incoming Haas.
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