Red Bull engine deal shows Renault's new approach - Abiteboul

Renault's decision to renew its engine partnership with Red Bull was evidence of a new fresh-thinking approach from the French manufacturer, claims its Formula 1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

Red Bull engine deal shows Renault's new approach - Abiteboul
Renault Sport F1 and Red Bull Racing trucks in the paddock
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal and Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director in the FIA Press Conference
Justin Wilson sticker on helmet of Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB11
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB11
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director with Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull Motorsport Consultant and Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal on the grid
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal, and Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB11
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After openly criticising Renault's approach to F1, Red Bull wanted to cut short its engine contract so it could sort out a fresh deal elsewhere for 2016.

However, after its efforts to land Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda failed, it was forced to return to the table with Renault and sort out a new contract, which has resulted it running rebranded TAG Heuer power units for this year.

Abiteboul, who was on the receiving end of Red Bull's outbursts, said that Renault's decision to approve the fresh deal despite all that happened was evidence of new thinking at the car company.

"I think one of the strengths of Renault's board is to be extremely pragmatic and to have the capacity first to trust the project team and secondly to look at the future rather than to look at the past," he said, when asked by Motorsport.com about the difficulties of getting his bosses to approve the new deal.

"I think they were convinced by what we put forward, of an extension of the collaboration with Red Bull but with a number of completely different conditions. And on the basis of those conditions, it was clearly a good thing to do."

Big test

Abiteboul said that Renault has been in need of a different way of thinking about F1, which has come about by the soul searching it has done this year while putting its works project together.

"Renault needs to be much more opportunistic than we have been so far if we want to be successful in this business," he said.

"So it was the first test in my opinion, and a test passed very well by Renault, of its capacity to think forward in doing what it takes to be extremely successful, rather than being camped in a certain position because of what happened in the past."

High maintenance

Although Red Bull pinned much of the responsibility for its competitive struggles on Renault, the French car manufacturer insists it was not entirely to blame for all issues.

"I think that we lost a bit of our time and our resources in dealing with this relationship with Red Bull at all levels," added Abiteboul.

"Clearly Red Bull is a very high maintenance organisation as it is a top class organisation, and they are only interested in immediate success.

"It has a lot of upside, and it is an upside for an organisation like Renault that is much more long term analytic and long-term thinking.

"We thought Red Bull could have been good for us, but in reality I think it was a bit bad for us and negative to what we eventually put on track. It was clearly visible with the issues we had on track in Melbourne and the start of the season. So we needed to be a bit more pragmatic.

"Again, we tried to short cut certain aspects and we were not successful at all. That was negative to a certain degree, but I would also say marginal – because [struggles] were down simply to the lack of genuinely good stuff that we had available in terms of concept, in terms of development budgets, that we could have put through.

"We were more responsible than Red Bull to the overall disappointing performance of the engine."

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