Horner slams ‘frus­trat­ing’ hy­brids as Re­nault split looms

New Straits Times - - Sport -

RED Bull boss Chris­tian Horner said Re­nault’s hy­brid en­gines had “al­ways fallen short” as spec­u­la­tion grew that the French sup­plier was about to im­ple­ment a shock di­vorce from the mul­ti­ple world cham­pi­ons.

Horner slammed For­mula One’s “frus­trat­ing” hy­brid era, but he played down me­dia re­ports sug­gest­ing Re­nault will walk away from Red Bull after next sea­son.

“I think any­thing after ‘18 at the mo­ment is purely spec­u­la­tion,” the Red Bull team prin­ci­pal told the BBC ahead of the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix.

The BBC, Sky Sports, Daily Mail and the Au­tosport.com web­site all re­ported that Re­nault was go­ing to split with Red Bull after 2018, with­out nam­ing sources.

The re­ports come as McLaren is ex­pected to part ways with en­gine-maker Honda and go with Re­nault in­stead. Honda is tipped to hook up with Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s ju­nior partner.

The re­lated moves, if con­firmed, could have wide im­pli­ca­tions for the cars’ com­pet­i­tive­ness, and for their driv­ers.

Fer­nando Alonso is ex­pected to stay at McLaren if they ditch Honda, while Daniel Ric­cia­rdo and Max Ver­stap­pen may want out of Red Bull if the Ja­panese en­gine-maker comes on board.

Honda has strug­gled to get to grips with the part-elec­tric, part­petrol en­gines since re­turn­ing to the sport in 2015, while Red Bull and Re­nault have long been at odds dur­ing the hy­brid era.

The Aus­trian team and French en­gine-maker won four driv­ers’ and con­struc­tors’ world ti­tles from 2010 to 2013, but they have since fallen be­hind Mercedes and Ferrari in the peck­ing or­der.

Ric­cia­rdo, whose Red Bull con­tract ends after next sea­son, fired a warn­ing shot when he said he needed to be con­vinced he could win a world ti­tle with the team.

“We have still man­aged to get podi­ums but we haven’t re­al­is­ti­cally been in the cham­pi­onship hunt so it re­ally needs to hap­pen with Red Bull next year — at least from my point of view,” he told Au­tosport.com.

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