RENAULT LAY DOWN THE LAW
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