MARCH 19, 2015
Red Bull asked for fierce development from Renault
Renault has revealed it took an unusually-aggressive approach to the 2015 season opener, at works partner Red Bull's behest.
Amid Red Bull's disastrous start to the new world championship in Australia, the energy drink-owned team lashed out at Renault for taking a "retrograde" step both in the power and reliability stakes.
Now, Renault is hitting back.
"We had a last-minute engine development," said Cyril Abiteboul, "in which we bypassed our normal quality and test bench validation processes.
"It was these changes that caused the problems in Melbourne, and it is what we are now focusing on at the factory prior to Sepang," he told the French daily L'Equipe.
Abiteboul claimed: "We were very aggressive because Red Bull wanted us to develop fiercely. Now we have to ask ourselves how we could forget our traditional methods.
"We have been manufacturing F1 engines for 37 years," he insisted. "We know what we need to do."
Although Red Bull is predicting a "dull" season full of Mercedes dominance, Abiteboul said Renault cannot be so easily written off.
"If we had said before the 2014 season that we would win three grands prix, you would have laughed at us," he said.
"Will we be playing for wins in the short term? No. But we will be back. In order to fight on par with Mercedes, we need some more time."
The tetchy media exchanges between Red Bull and Renault indicate that the partnership is now in the throes of divorce.
In the short term, Abiteboul has asked Red Bull for some space to sort out its problems.
"We won together for years, and currently we are having problems together," he said of the Red Bull-Renault pairing.
"So far, we have followed and listened to the directives of Red Bull, but clearly the chassis and the engine are two different universes.
"Everybody should be able to do his job in peace," Abiteboul insisted.