While his team flounders in the wake of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, Cyril Abiteboul has reacted comments made by Red Bull regarding the partnership they endured with Renault.
Adrian Newey recently said in an interview that the energy drinks organisation actively ramped up the pressure on Renault by criticising their power units during the final fractious seasons they spent together.
During the Formula 1 team principals’ press conference in the Friday of the Baku weekend, Abiteboul and Christian Horner shared the stage, with the pair having a tete-a-tete along the way.
The Renault team boss said during an exchange, “One thing we can give credit to Christian and Red Bull is that they are fantastic at communication strategy and communication is part of this world, it’s part of Formula 1, it’s part of your strategy and your tactics.”
“It’s not the first team and it’s not the last team to use all the weaponry of this world, and frankly you guys, to influence what is going on. I was reading that Max is happy to take an engine penalty – amazing!”
“You know, that’s part of this world, but I don’t want to lose sight of the fact, and I would concur with Christian in relation to that, our engine was not at the required level in 2014 and 2015. There are mitigating circumstances.”
“You know, we were extremely happy and Renault has contributed to making Red Bull what it is today by winning four championships in a row – from a financial perspective with sponsors, from a technology perspective with talent, recruitment – Red Bull is what it is today thanks also to Renault.”
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say that. But then, later on, indeed we lost a little bit the momentum and sight of what needed to be done for 2014 regulations. The rest is history and we’ll see what the future is holding,” added Abiteboul.
Horner admitted that Red Bull used headline-grabbing pressure tactics to extract the most from their engine partner, “It was one of those things that you try, every mechanism that you can to try to generate competitiveness.
“At that time it was felt that maybe Renault couldn’t possibly afford the embarrassment of these engines not being competitive and not being reliable and not delivering, but yeah, unfortunately, it didn’t work,” concluded Horner.