Despite ‘badging’ their 2016 power unit as Tag Heuer it appears the bad blood between Renault and Red Bull is set to continue. Recently Dr. Helmut Marko stated, “When I consider the current Lotus team, which is now the Renault factory team, then if they [Renault] were in their right mind they would put everything on us,” adding especially, “with those drivers”.
At yesterday’s livery reveal by Red Bull Racing, when asked whether Toro Rosso would outperform their big brother team this year Christian Horner replied, “Yes. Toro Rosso has bolted in 0.8 seconds into their car through a different power unit. That is a significant amount of performance”.
The reality is that Renault have been developing their F1 V6 hybrid turbo throughout the winter and will bring some performance gains over their 2015 PU to the circuit immediately. Whether this is the 0.8 seconds Horner estimates was the deficit between Renault’s and Ferrari’s PUs in 2015 is anyone’s guess.
That said, Renault’s power unit chief, Rémi Taffin, was recently reported as stating, “All I can say is that I think we will improve more than our competitors this winter, because our margin (for improvement) is higher.” Taffin refused however to confirm or deny whether their power gain was in the region of 50 BHP as had been widely reported in the media.
Christian Horner went on to state that it would be up to Red Bull to close the gap on their competitors by developing the car throughout the season. “We are hoping to make similar gains throughout the year but obviously the chassis is going to have to prop that up.”
Renault have said they will be upping their budget for this season and for that the Red Bull Racing boss is somewhat grateful. “I get the feeling that they [Renault] have a much better idea of where the performance deficiency has been, and what they need to do to address that,” said Horner. “There seems to be a lot more confidence and focus and I think with a bit of restructuring they have done there, they have got some quality consultants in there now with plenty of experience”.
During 2015 Red Bull Racing were convinced Renault were failing to analyse the areas of deficiency in the internal combustion engine part of the power unit and so engaged the services of Mario Illien. Clearly Horner believes Renault have now turned the corner. He concluded, “So I think they are addressing the right areas now.”
There may have been a truce over the winter in the war of words between Red Bull and Renault, but all good will seems to have died in this relationship over the past two years, and it will surprise no-one if the cessation of hostilities is breached at some point in the near future.
Once again Red Bull are shooting themselves in the foot. Publicly they only have a 1 year deal with Renault. While PU manufacturers have agreed to supply all teams, the agreement didn’t extend to supplying them with a current year PU!
So while Red Bull continue to deride their PU manufacturer what PU manufacturer in their right mind would want to supply a company that damages your reputation whenever they like?
Also, now that the token system is set to be removed completely, Red Bull faces the possibility of falling behind the development of the manufacturers. Renault is sure to prioritize their own team over Red Bull, any way they can. So unless another manufacturer comes in, Red Bull is a bit screwed. Then again, losing the token system might actually help in attracting more manufacturers which could work in Red Bull’s favor.
I am at a loss currently in trying to understand just what the actual deal is between Renault and Red Bull. Red Bull will utilize a Renault ‘tuned’ by Illien but will they still receive full updates/software/fuel like before from Renault? Or are they now just a customer team who will buy the engine, and that is it? If anyone knows, please enlighten me as next week’s test could become dramatic because of it.
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The Red Bullies may be getting an engine from Renault, but did Marko ensure they are getting the latest/same as the Works team, before he opened his gob? I would be very pleased if they are getting last years or this years iffy engines.
I have a large bag of nails, should Renault need any.
Yes, lets have more 2 level racing. Huraay. /s
Renault may improve more, percentage-wise, than others, but given their lower starting point, will it be enough? My Magic 8-Ball says, “Answer Unclear; Ask Again Later”.