Red Bull to decide on engine supplier at 'end of the summer'

Published on 12 Mar 2018 10:04

Christian Horner has hit back at Renault's imposition of a May deadline to decide its engine supplier for 2019. It is no secret that Red Bull installed Honda as Toro Rosso's engine supplier this year in order to open the door to a potential deal for the main team in 2019.

Currently, Red Bull uses a customer Renault engine, but Horner thinks the French marque is hitting a performance limit with its current power unit. And relations between the two sides are strained. "We will have to see how it goes this year, but whenever we have a power deficit, we have to try to compensate with the car," Red Bull boss Horner told El Confidencial.

It is suggested that Renault may advise its teams to ignore the new three engines per driver rule this year in order to maximise engine developments. Horner said: "It will be interesting to see who uses only three, but even if the regulations were more lax, the order of performance would not change. The problem is that this generation of engine regulations is not as good for Renault as it has been for Mercedes and Ferrari," he insisted.

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul recently said Red Bull will have to decide between Renault and Honda for 2019 by May of this year. But Horner says that deadline is wrong. "What we understand is that May is when you have to give an indication to the FIA, but that does not mean a commitment," he said. "It will be decided at the end of the summer. That's the realistic timing of when the decisions have to be made."

So far, the frontrunner may actually be Honda, after a surprisingly strong pre-season for the Japanese manufacturer with Toro Rosso. "Honda has had a fantastic start with Toro Rosso," agreed Horner. "Obviously, we're in a good position to keep an eye on their progress in the first half of the year. We're going to follow it with great interest," he added.

Replies (10)
US mcbhargav 12 Mar 2018 12:130
Posts: 721
Maclaren could improve, Renault doesnt need the RB benchmark.
SE calle.itw 12 Mar 2018 21:090
Posts: 5601
They could, and most likely will, but Renault will lose precious cash from TAG. I dont really think Renault will cry over Red Bull leaving though, more than anything they seem to be the physical incarnation of video game publisher's relationship with Gamespot: two entities trying to work together with one hand while trying to kill the other entity with the other.
SE calle.itw 12 Mar 2018 14:010
Posts: 5601
Lets not get ahead of ouselves here. Im as happy over the good testing as any overly attached Hondafriend, but we dont know how well it translates to the races.
SE calle.itw 12 Mar 2018 14:03+1
Posts: 5601
And Red Bull, honey, its not up to you to decide when really. Renault has a date for you, decide before that or they will decide for you.
US ajpennypacker 12 Mar 2018 20:500
Posts: 1398
I'm frankly surprised by how much Renault is underestimated. It's not like they haven't won most championships in the last 13 years. They had a slump, but they have very consistently been making improvements for a few years now. They are in it for the long term. I'm tipping Renault to be the biggest surprise this years. I'm expecting some odd podiums.
SE calle.itw 12 Mar 2018 21:070
Posts: 5601
Lets be real here: yes, they had a really good roll, but their wins with Red Bull wasnt thanks to Renault, and if we arent going to give Honda some slack, neither should we with Renault. Already during the Vettel dominance, Renault had slumped behind their competitors in numbers, if perhaps nowhere near as bad as they are now. But since 2014, and that was with decent amount of development time behind them, they have failed at catching up. And looking at their latest two seasons, their unwillingness to upgrade their units post midseason is alarming, especially for their customers with no power over the development, and them undersupplying STR with spares, if that wasnt intentional its incompetent. I think Works Renault will jump to fourth, but thats not really a surprise. Its a combination of decent funds, along with the power of a works team. Mind, I do like their far more careful attitude, more teams need to do that instead of going in "guns blazing".
US ajpennypacker 13 Mar 2018 02:200
Posts: 1398
I remember Cyril back in 2015 I think... talking about a 5 year plan. They definitely failed to keep up when the hybrid units were introduced. Regarding Red Bull's dominance, I think you're seriously understating Renault's PU. You can't win 4 consecutive championships in dominant fashion without a top PU. Conversely, you can't win championships (or even win races) simply by having the absolute best PU. Think of all the cars with Mercedes engines the last 4 years that haven't even made it to the podium.
SE calle.itw 13 Mar 2018 08:510
Posts: 5601
Yeah, and they still sorta do. They come out of winter testing pretty okay, but they just dont build on it enough. Remember the leap they did in 2016? Remember what could've been, had they kept it up, instead of going "LoL, no, we aint releasing nothing after this". Its the exact opposite with Honda: they enter a season weak, but build on it continuously during the season. Imagine the two together...

As for the notion that you need the best PU to win a title... No. Remember, things were much closer back then. That margin was close enough so that a good chassis can make a team competitive. Remember the speed traps RB set last year in Baku compared to the other Renault teams. Imagine that, but with a more competitive unit. The Renault unit didnt hinder RB as much as it has done during the hybrid era, but it wasnt what made Red Bull a winner.

As for the last bit... Actually, look at Williams and Force India. Williams didnt do a too bad job during their first Merc' years, and Force India has certainly not suffered from being Merc' powered. The difference there, I'd say, is the fact that they are mere customers.
Posts: 759
Renault has proven to be an unrelaible partner. They promise a lot but deliver half. Just as now they have the 2016 ERS on the engine...They fucked op Toro Rosso’s engines in the last part of 2017 so they can finish in fornt of TR, earning millions....Renault just suck...
SE calle.itw 13 Mar 2018 15:590
Posts: 5601
If that move against STR wasnt intentional, it was incompetent. Foul taste either way.

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