Published On: Tue, Jun 19th, 2018

Renault wants to make Red Bull 'regret' their F1 engine split

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Renault hopes to make Red Bull “regret” its decision to switch to Honda Formula 1 engines.

Red Bull will end its 12-year Renault association to join Honda for 2019 and Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said his company’s best response would be to outperform its ex-partner.

“We will do everything we can to make them regret this decision,” Abiteboul told Autosport.

“What I mean by that is simply doing the best we can on track with our own team under our own colours.

“I am really extremely excited by the performance improvement to come, in particular with ‘spec C’ which we will introduce later this season.

“At this point in time there is no reason to think that Red Bull will not be receiving it, although we are yet to confirm details of the engine allocation plan.”

Abiteboul said he was “not surprised whatsoever” by Tuesday’s news as he had expected Red Bull’s exit since the late-2017 McLaren/Toro Rosso engine swap.

“Last year in Singapore we announced a comprehensive set of agreements with both the Red Bull group and McLaren,” he said.

“This featured a termination of Toro Rosso at the end of 2017 and termination of Red Bull at the end of 2018, even though Red Bull had requested to be a bit more vague about that topic.

“It went in a different direction when Red Bull requested an offer, as there was a bit of indecision about which way to go. For us it is more a confirmation of what was in the air.”

He believes securing a works deal was Red Bull’s main motivation.

“It could not be with Renault, it had to be with another entity and they found in Honda a perfect match,” said Abiteboul.

“I am sure that there’s something related to performance, but it is very clear there is much more than this.

“There are a number of things that we could not offer, like financial support, like access to core facilities, because our priority and focus is on the consolidation of the performance of Renault Sport F1.”

He suggested having just one customer team in McLaren “is good for us because it will allow us to really focus” on the works Renault programme.

“Obviously when you supply Red Bull Racing, which is a high-maintenance team because of their ambition and their expectation, it is always a bit of a distraction for the rest that we have to do,” said Abiteboul.

“And we have a lot to do either for this cycle of engine regulations or for the next one.”

Red Bull and Renault had recently clashed over the timing of the 2019 supply decision, leaving Abiteboul pleased that it ultimately came early.

“It was always our baseline assumption that they would be switching to another engine supplier for next year and we were becoming more and more concerned about IP,” he said.

“It was important for us to get clarity of their plans for next year so we could take appropriate measures.”

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