Renault: Red Bull not a factor in Illien's signing

Renault has made clear that its decision to tie-up with Mario Illien for its Formula 1 project had nothing to do with trying to appease Red Bull.

Renault: Red Bull not a factor in Illien's signing
(L to R): Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal with Mario Illien, Ilmor Engineering Co-Founder
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director in the FIA Press Conference
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB11
Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing

Illien initially got involved with Renault's engine plans after being brought on board as a consultant by Red Bull.

He helped work on a new cylinder concept, but in the end Renault elected to go down its own route – even though that did not deliver expected results.

Nevertheless, as first revealed by Motorsport.com, Illien was subsequently drafted on board directly by Renault to help with future developments.

His involvement prompted speculation that Illien was pushed on board after a request from Red Bull – something Renault has made clear is not correct.

Speaking about the role of Illien and his Ilmor company, Renault F1's managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “It's very simple. It is an association between Renault and Ilmor, and there is no implication.

“I have to respond to some media who said that it was something imposed by Red Bull, or was something only for the benefit of Red Bull. It is not at all the case.

“I have always said that yes, there was nothing from Ilmor that we used at the start or at the end of the [2015] season, but it did not mean that we were not impressed by the capacity of Ilmor to bring some positive stuff to the table.

“That is the basis that our head of engineering decided to continue the relationship with Ilmor, but slightly in a different manner.

“What he is doing is extending our engineering capacity and also making an extra dyno available, so we can scale up our development capacity and catch up quicker.”

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