With the coming announcement that Honda will be partnering with Red Bull, on a likely 2 year deal until the 2021 engine regulations kick in, the incumbent supplier: Renault, are keen to kick back in the press.
TJ13 revealed this week that the announcement to switch will likely come sooner rather than later after an impressive outing by Honda and their upgrade package in Canada.
The French manufacturer had originally given their partner of 12 years a deadline of May 2018 to reach a decision as to whether continue to stick with Renault as the engine supplier to Red Bull or not. Since then, the deadline has been extended until the Austrian Grand Prix.
“We have extended the deadline due to the 12 years of good cooperation that we have had,” Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul told Marca.
“In Montreal they saw our new specification and that of Honda – they have all the information. I see absolutely no reason to delay this further.
“In Austria, our offer is not going to be there anymore,” he warned. “They’ll have to talk to Honda.”
It appears that Red Bull bosses are stringing along Renault somewhat with the delay, knowing that in actual fact the decision has already been made to go with Honda.
Already the war of words has commenced, with Renault keen to show that their upgrade has a better improvement than Honda’s. Honda are wisely keeping quiet at this stage, but that’s not stopping Red Bull’s Helmut Marko who claims that the Honda upgrade has given Toro Rosso 3 tenths improvement in Canada, along with a direct comparison between old and new spec Honda power units when Gasly was forced to revert to the old engine prior to qualifying. Hartley qualified in 12th, ahead of Gasly in 16th in Montreal.
Renault technical chief Remi Taffin is keen to point out that the Renault unit had made better progress than Honda:
“The improvement since Melbourne has been three tenths, including one tenth thanks to new fuel introduced in Barcelona,” he said – so 4 tenths improvement proven by the works Renault team finishing a respectable 7th and 8th with the promise of more improvements:
“We are already working on the next evolution, which will take place after the summer factory shutdown.” says Taffin.