Renault target Newey ‘lies’


Renault Sport F1’s CEO, Cyril Abiteboul, came out swinging following Christian Horner and Helmut Marko’s violent criticism of Renault in Melbourne. We reported first in English last Wednesday that Renault had been forced to allow Red Bull to use an engine for the Australian GP which had not been properly cycled through Renault’s regular tests.

“If you have an engine failure after 50km, that is incomprehensible,” fumed Marko after Daniel Ricciardo’s engine failed on Saturday. “With all the engines, driveability is significantly worse than in testing. We wanted an improvement and we have taken a step back.”

TJ13 has learned that part of the motivation to bring forward this iteration of the engine was that Red Bull wanted more development tokens deployed before the FIA did their count. The average number of ‘unused development tokens’ across the three 2014 F1 engine manufacturers would be the number of development tokens Honda would be allowed to use developing their engine during the 2015 season.

“Renault has revealed that it may tactically delay using Formula 1 engine development tokens early this season in a bid to make bigger gains for 2016,” reported Jonathan Noble in February.

At that time Cyril Abiteboul explained Renault planned to take a longer term view of their engine development because their contract with Red Bull runs to the end of next season.

“Even though we have two years of partnership to go before hopefully there is a renewal, we need to maximise the value of money from the token allocation that we have,” commented the Renault boss.

“I think that there is a bit of strategic thinking to employ for this decision and therefore for the in-season development strategy for 2015… and do the right thing, not only for 2015 but also for 2016,” he said.

Red Bull were clearly not happy with this approach, so engines not properly bench tested were run in Melbourne with the result that Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have just 3 engines left each for the next 18 races.

Despite Red Bull’s insistence that more tokens were deployed on the engine run in Australia, Renault still have the most ‘unused development tokens’ for this year with 12. Ferrari have 10 and Mercedes have 7 leaving Honda with 9 for the remainder of this year.

Last week Christian Horner went to great lengths to lay the blame for his team’s current plight squarely at Renault’s door. There had been some observation that Toro Rosso weren’t hurting the same as Red Bull from the Renault power train and suggestions made that maybe the RB11 was part of the problem.

“They [Toro Rosso] are struggling the same amount,” insisted Horner. “It’s just having a more dramatic on our car, at the end of the day. I think it [the engine problems] masks so many things regarding corner entry and corner exit, degradation and slip control of the tyre.

“You are not able to drive the car properly, so you start moving the brake balance around to try to compensate, so you are so far away from the optimum. Then you start to lose temperature in the brakes and then the tyres are not working as it should”.

After a year of silence, it appears CRenault have had enough criticism from their ‘works’ partner and Cyril Abiteboul looks to be up for a fight. Today, he again hits out at Red Bull and in particular their guru designer Adrian Newey. Speaking to AutoHebdo, Abiteboul states, “Red Bull have some chassis problems that do not help the situation, in particular their lack of rear stability”.

The French reporter then asked whether it is difficult to listen to Adrian Newey consistently stating the problem is with the engine and not the car.

“Yes,” retorted Abiteboul. It’s difficult when your partner lies. Adrian is a charming gentleman and an outstanding engineer, but he has spent his life criticising his engine manufactures. He is too old to change”.


If we thought the blood in Maranello ran deep and wide last year – watch this space. Then again, maybe if you stand up to a bully – they back down.

29 responses to “Renault target Newey ‘lies’

  1. Love it!

    About time someone had the balls to stand up to the pitlane bullies.

    I can’t see how their repair this relationship and what other engine supplier would want to supply them after seeing how they work with “partners”?

    Red Bull Mecachome in 2017?

  2. You can only push a man so far before they decide enough is enough and then decide to go on the offensive…..

    H&M’s response should be quite entertaining.

    “Red Bull have some chassis problems that do not help the situation, in particular their lack of rear stability”.

    Oh how Adrian would like to have his EBD back.

  3. This is getting entertaining. Good for Renault to finally grow a pair. Now all we need if for Toro Rosso to finish ahead of RB at the end of the year.

    • This might even happen the next race since it’s expected to rain and as we all know when it rains you get unexpected results in F1 😀

      • I’m actually hoping that TR finish ahead of RB in the constructors’ championship overall and yes, why wait…Malaysia sounds like a great place to start 🙂

  4. Can’t see how this relationship can be fixed. Maybe Renault have realised that Red Bull have nowhere else to go and so feel free to stand up to them.

    I’d rather Red Bull didn’t leave the sport, for all their arrogance they have brought positives to the sport. Their driver program is brutal but purely talent driven, no pay drivers for them. They’ve proved than a ‘nobody’ can take on and annihilate the racing elite.

    I hope that Red Bull can return to their more humble and gracious early roots, hopefully with a brand new engine partner, really offer the grid some options which will surely drive down PU prices.

    • “I’d rather Red Bull didn’t leave the sport, for all their arrogance they have brought positives to the sport.”

      You raise an interesting point. Red Bull is one of the best, in particular how they promote / market F1, and are very active helping people far down the driver development ladders.

      One thing that is interesting in this very good article by the Judge today is that Cyril has mentioned only one person at Red Bull, Adrian Newey.

      It indicates the poor relationship between Renault and Red Bull pivots around Adrian Newey.

      So to change the relationship, either Adrian will need to change. Or Adrian will need to be removed from relationship. I think Cyril was being fairly clear this when he said, “He is too old to change.”

      TJ13 has been particularly excellent in covering this whole issue. There was a great article some time back where a mentor to Adrian Newey explained that though he is talented, he needs to be reigned in sometimes to prevent him from working his down a rabbit hole.

      Another great article is TJ13’s coverage of Newey’s infamous comments to the press at the 2014 Bahrain Friday FIA press conference, as seen here:

  5. So the divorce between Renault and the Spice Boys is in full swing… I hope they have good divorce lawyers, or this is going to get very public and very messy… 🙂

  6. Ze cunning French master plan!

    Renault annoyed at zero promotion of their name.
    Renault decide to buy a team.
    Renault use very few development tokens for this year.
    RBR & STR Renault powered, reduce in value, through lack of success.
    Renault pay a smaller price than they might have paid in 2013.
    Renault buy a team.
    Renault use all their tokens, and achieve success…..yeah right?
    [color=red]Vive[/color] la [color=blue]France[/color]!

    • I don’t think it’s much of a plan…

      Renault delivered a fondue, got cornered by RB, lost 2 clients, was left essentially with one client (even if 2 teams), failed to produce something other than a melted fondue next time round which was most likely because of lack of development funds, got another PR kick in the nuts from those charming Austrian Spice Boys, and are now announcing that the Spice Boys magnanimously provide them the choice of investing in Toro Rosso.

      Well, dah! What else can they do? RB seem ready to drop Renault and bow out. And without Toro Rosso, Renault simply don’t have ANY chassis on which to bolt their PU. So it’s either taking the poisonous cake from RB, or immediate death. Take your pick!

      So much for Renault having a strategy… 🙂

      • What if it’s Renault who are the ones looking to drop RBR, hence the interest in acquiring their own team?

        • Why would they? They won with Red Bull 8 titles. They have one of the most efficient chassis in the field (at least had in 2014) on which to bolt their engine. And TR is hopelessly dependent on RB; they can’t even choose their own drivers! If Renault wanted to be less dependent on RB, this sounds like the wrong way to do this… And forget not that Toro Rosso is an utterly unproven winner…

          Who in their right mind would want to drop a proven winner for a midfielder at best? Enstone always had pedigree. RB always had financial and political might, on which they capitalized. Toro Rosso won once, having recycled a Newey chassis…

          • Because they can then get the full recognition of buying a midfield team and turned the around into a winning outfit.

  7. *Tin foil hat on*
    I find it interesting that red bull wanted Renault to push ahead with early development.

    Was that so that Honda could have more tokens in hopes of them better developing their engine during the year in advance of a switch next year?

    I can’t imagine Honda being so short sighted in their partnership but who knows??
    *tin foil hat off*

  8. Washing dirty laundry in public is not going to make things better. Both parties should really shut up and start working together to compete with Mercs

  9. I’m lost here on Newey. I read elsewhere today (Wednesday) that BiteABull was complaining about Newey’s comments, but haven’t run across any, and the link to last year, I just read and failed to see any complaints about the PU other than complexity.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.