Red Bull may refuse to run new Renault engines this year

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The war of words between the Red Bull F1 family and Renault is well documented. However, the tensions were ramped up this year in Australia when Daniel Kvyat didn’t even make it to the start grid due to engine failure and Ricciardo was lapped before the end by the Mercedes pair.

In their defence, Renault later revealed that Red Bull were insisting they run a specification of the engine which the French manufacturer was not comfortable had passed the reliability tests set out.

Renault’s goal has been to improve reliability first and add performance later – a furrow Honda are now ploughing.

TJ13 reported during the Jerez test that Renault would require at least 6 months to fix the issue of reliability and Renault later confirmed that they hoped this would be the case by the Canadian GP.

There have been indications that Red Bull Racing have persisted with their pressure on Renault to improve performance, however Cyril Abeteboul and his colleagues have remained resolute in their pursuit of consistency and repeatedly stated the engine development tokens would only be deployed towards the latter part of this year.

Reports are emerging that Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso may refuse to run the newly developed engine (D-Spec) before the end of the year.

“It’s a possibility. It depends on the value of the update,” Christian Horner tells Adam Cooper. “What you have to calculate is the increase performance worth the deficit of grid positions?

I think with Ricciardo he is going to have to take another engine, so theoretically that should be the D-spec if it’s reliable.

At the moment I think a lot of work is being done in the background to make it reliable. It’s not a great situation obviously, but it is what it is, and we’ve just got to try and battle on through it.

It’s beyond frustration, we’ve just got to deal with what we’ve got on a race-by-race basis.”

Is this a change of philosophy?

Mr. Horner now appears to be a convert to the mantra of reliability first, or is this just Red Bull denying Renault the opportunity to test their engine now that the 2016 supply contract between Red Bull and Renault has been terminated.

Franz Tost appears to be a little more conciliatory. “After Austin in Mexico there’s a long straight, and in Sao Paulo there’s a very long straight. We need the best possible engine.

“If you ask me now from my personal opinion, then yes. But this is also a decision from the engineering side, not only my side.”

Of course in Monza, both Red Bull and Toro Rosso took additional grid penalties to increase the engine pool available to them – and could run the current pool iteration of used engines to the end of the season without further grid drop penalties. Red Bull will argue they cannot be forced by Renault to take any more engine penalties – and refuse the D-Spec upgrade.

Now that the divorce appears finalised, is it time for the blood letting?

Yet Red Bull Racing are just 50 points ahead of Force India and 63 points ahead of Lotus with 7 races to go. This veiled threat could have serious repercussions for their championship hopes.

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9 responses to “Red Bull may refuse to run new Renault engines this year

  1. I would be very surprised if they refused to run the D-spec engine, in fact all Renault need to do is refuse to give Red Bull the C-spec engine. Then Red Bull either fail to make the grid (if they do that multiple times, no FOM money) or they run D-spec engine. I don’t really think they have a choice.

    • I agree. All they need to do is find a “problem” in the c spec an say there you go guys onto d. If not could “problems” arise in the race so to speak? I am sure Renault would like lotus to over take and help with the prize money if they can

  2. It almost seems if Red Bull are so fed up with Renault that they are going to force them to leave the sport (and just looking at how embarrassingly they performed this season they should be forced to either invest a lot of money or just leave because this performance is not worthy of F1, Honda’s only reprieve is that they started a lot later and they haven’t asked for this engine formula ;-)).

    Anyone knows if perhaps the reason why FOM/CVC cannot guarantee Renault their historical payments is because these payments have to be given with the permission of the other historical payment receivers? (I can imagine that because of the enormous debt they have loaded on F1 they simply cannot pay from F1’s income and it has to come from a redistribution of the historical payments given to the other teams)

      • So if Renault leaves the sport it can be directly traced back to CVC mismanaging F1. I’m starting to wonder when enough is enough for the FIA and they decide to take back the commercial rights because CVC is killing F1

  3. It is interesting that they come up with this increase in performance vs grid penalties argument. Have Renault told them what the performance increase is? Is it so ittle, that it can hardly make up for a grid penalty loss in time? RBR probably already know that the performance of the D spec will not have much impact. If it was so wonderful as some expect it to be, they might have stuck with Renault for 2016.

  4. Can Renault homologate an engine with their remaining tokens when it is not used at all this season?

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