F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

Engine per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity are not the only bone of con­tention be­tween Re­nault and their lead­ing team ahead of the sea­son. Last Septem­ber, Re­nault told Red Bull they had no in­ten­tion of re­main­ing as engine sup­plier af­ter 2018. Red Bull pointed out that Re­nault’s con­tract with For­mula 1 dic­tates they have to if Red Bull make that re­quest. Now Abite­boul is say­ing Red Bull have only un­til the end of May to make a de­ci­sion.

“We are not go­ing to hang around for­ever,” he said. “There will be a dead­line for Red Bull Rac­ing to de­fine what they want for the fu­ture. It is in the sport­ing reg­u­la­tions. I be­lieve it is by the end of May when there needs to be some clar­ity as to which man­u­fac­turer is sup­ply­ing which cus­tomer team. So that, as far as we are con­cerned, will be our dead­line.”

Should Re­nault get their way, Red Bull’s al­ter­na­tive for 2019 is to use Honda en­gines. The Ja­panese com­pany are still in their hon­ey­moon pe­riod with ju­nior team Toro Rosso, hav­ing parted com­pany with Mclaren af­ter three sea­sons of poor per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity.

Over the first two days of pre-sea­son test­ing, it es­caped no-one’s at­ten­tion that the Toro Rosso-honda com­pleted more than twice as many miles as the Mclaren-re­nault, as Fer­nando Alonso and Stof­fel Van­doorne were hit by a se­ries of an­noy­ing re­li­a­bil­ity nig­gles.

Alonso was pitched into the gravel trap when his car shed a wheel on his sixth lap of test­ing, and Van­doorne

Re­la­tions be­tween Re­nault and Red Bull, al­ready rocky, are un­likely to im­prove this sea­son

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