Former Grand Prix winner Olivier Panis thinks Red Bull should not “bite the hand that feeds it” by publicly criticizing engine supplier Renault.
Following the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, in which one of its cars broke down on the installation lap and the other was lapped by the race winner, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko complained of Renault: "We wanted an improvement and we have taken a step back. The gap to the top now is frightening."
But Panis, speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, doesn’t think such a public display of dissatisfaction is helpful.
“I do understand that Horner and Helmut [Marko] are disappointed,” said Panis. “But I find it a bit easy to blame Renault. Red Bulls used to be at the front with the same engine, so they should rather put their own house in order, then look at things.
“When you have won four titles with a constructor, you can’t straightaway bite the hand that has been feeding you. I find it barely acceptable, even though everyone is defending their own interests, which I respect, but I find it borderline.”
Panis also doesn’t agree with Red Bull’s tactic of lobbying the FIA to equalize the engine rules, to rein-in the dominant Mercedes power unit.
“Horner might be complaining, but when he was World Champion four times and dominated, he did not ask others whether it was fine with them,” added Panis.
“There’s a point when you need to put things back into their context: they’re having a hard time, okay, but when you’re a team, you stick together and you move forward.”