Despite the ever-increasing ever present animosity between Red Bull and their engine supplier Renault, the French manufacturer’s F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul believes that the energy drinks outfit is better off with his organisation than with Honda.
Late last year Red Bull made a big step towards Honda power by arranging an intricate deal for the Japanese giant to supply their Toro Rosso junior team from 2018.
This month the powers that be at Red Bull need to decide whether to stick to their fractious customer partnership with Renault or pursue an entirely different path with works engines from Honda. One a proven entity that has powered them to two victories this season, or taking the leap with the belief that Honda will eventually produce a competitive F1 engine.
Speaking to Sky in Montreal, Renault boss Abiteboul warned, “Frankly with us they have a chance to become world champions again. With what they have now, what is in the pipeline, and their car – which is a great car and maybe the greatest – they have the chance to become world champions again in the next two years.”
“It is a complex decision for them and for us, but maybe it is my emotional side. I have been working 12 years of pulling my hairs with Christian [Horner] and Helmut [Marko], and I don’t want to lose any of that.”
“But frankly, in the construction of the Renault team, I think it is still interesting to get their [Red Bull’s] benchmarking capacity.”
“We know where we need to work based on what they are doing. They have showed that a Renault engine can win races in straight conditions, so that is a good sign of what we are doing, where we are progressing and where we need to progress,” added Abiteboul.
It’s ‘big decision’ time for Red Bull and Canada apparently the last hurdle in the process, a fact that team boss Horner acknowledged, “We are at a crucial point in the season. The data we take out of this weekend will be fundamental to our decision making for the future.”
“In an ideal world, we would like to see two samples of that – here and in France. But by the Austrian race we will have made a decision,” added Horner.
Big Question: Can Red Bull be champions again with Renault?