Re­nault: life with Red Bull was “go­ing nowhere”

F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

Head of Re­nault Sport re­veals how the cool­ing re­la­tion­ship with Red Bull pushed them to be­come con­struc­tors in their own right

Re­nault have re­turned to For­mula 1 as con­struc­tors be­cause they felt it was the only way they could en­joy suc­cess in the fu­ture (see cover story, p30).

Their re­la­tion­ship with for­mer part­ner Red Bull had al­ways been tricky, even when they were win­ning con­sec­u­tive ti­tles to­gether, but it had soured ir­re­triev­ably since turbo hy­brid en­gines were in­tro­duced in 2014. Re­nault were also ag­grieved that they had not re­ceived the ex­po­sure they mer­ited from their in­volve­ment in F1 dur­ing their re­la­tion­ship with Red Bull.

Re­nault Sport boss Cyril Abite­boul said he felt the re­la­tion­ship with Red Bull was “go­ing nowhere” and that Re­nault needed to re­think their ap­proach. “F1 rep­re­sents a cer­tain value for Re­nault, so the ques­tion was, are we ca­pa­ble of be­ing in F1 suc­cess­fully for that value?

“It took a year to come back and say, with rea­son­able ev­i­dence, that it is pos­si­ble to do it, within this set of pa­ram­e­ters. With mod­ern reg­u­la­tions, it is very dif­fi­cult to be a suc­cess­ful en­gine sup­plier if you can­not con­trol the full pack­age, be­cause you need to have a more holis­tic ap­proach to the car, to ap­proach the car as a sys­tem in­clud­ing the re­source al­lo­ca­tion.

“The frus­tra­tion when you are in a cus­tomer­sup­plier model with any­one – but in par­tic­u­lar Red Bull – was that Red Bull were in­vest­ing a for­tune in the chas­sis at a time when the reg­u­la­tions were dic­tat­ing that we had to in­vest much more mas­sively in en­gine tech­nol­ogy to de­rive per­for­mance and sport­ing re­sults.”

Abite­boul said that in 2016 Re­nault needed to be “hum­ble” in their ex­pec­ta­tions for next year. The fo­cus will be on re­struc­tur­ing af­ter the takeover of Lotus, es­pe­cially in get­ting the French en­gine depart­ment and English chas­sis team work­ing smoothly to­gether.

Re­nault have re­cruited for­mer Mercedes tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Bob Bell, who oc­cu­pied that role at Re­nault from 2003-09, to over­see this process. His ap­point­ment is likely to be fol­lowed by that of a new team prin­ci­pal.

Suc­ces­sion?

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