Formula one is an expensive sport if you are at the very top and wining regularly, its just as expensive if you are at the top and not wining regularly and so it is for Red Bull. The past two seasons of hybrid power has seen Red Bull loose thier dominance. Ricciardo has won a few races against the might of the Mercedes but this season Red bull have been nowhere.
Hungary was different, it saw a return to form with Kvyat and Ricciardo scoring a 2nd and 3rd on the podium. But that’s one race out of ten and in the previous nine Red Bull have taking a real kicking to their once imperious, all conquering almost sentient form.
The problem is Renault, say Red Bull, the V6 hybrid is suffering from a lack of power and driveability that is no match for Ferrari let alone Mercedes. Red Bull’s management have been keen to let Renault know of their dissatisfaction presumably first in private and then eventually ‘letting rip’ in public.
Of course Renault have fired back, here we have two partners that were once unbeatable just three years ago, that were expressing gratitude and ready give one another endless praise. Now its all changed with a public war of words that suggests both want to part ways after the 2015 F1 season draws to a close.
Renault Sport boss, Cyril Abiteboul, recently said in an interview with BBC Sport that Red Bull had become “high maintenance” and that they should show more respect to Renault for providing the back bone for the teams 4 consecutive drivers and constructors titles.
Abiteboul also said “This is a big difference between the two companies, so I think we need to understand each other’s mindset and the world in which we operate.”
While Red Bull know how the process of engine development works it seems they have a lack of patience with Renault’s current lack of progress.
However Abiteboul said “There will be an improvement on the engine in the course of this season and I really hope this will be the type of upgrade that is visible to everyone,” he said.
It isn’t clear exactly what it is that Red Bull are trying to achieve on the one hand they want Renault to provide them with a class leading powerplant able to compete with Mercedes. On the other hand they may well opt to become a customer partner of Mercedes.
The latter would be at a disadvantage for Red Bull because they would never get the true manufacturer spec used by Mercedes. It makes sense to have an exclusive partnership with Renault at least Red Bull will be assured of having unlimited power all most certainly exclusively.
But Red Bull can’t wait, however the public spat might be a way of giving Renault a corporate ‘kick up the backside’ and I am going to make prediction that Red Bull will indeed retain Renault engine power beyond their current 2016 contract.