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Renault claim Red Bull engine deal was always unlikely for 2019

Written by  Jun 20, 2018

Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul has suggested Red Bull were always likely to need a new engine supplier next season after announcing they will switch to Honda for 2019.

On Tuesday it was confirmed the 12-year partnership, which has seen the Milton Keynes outfit rise to win four titles but falter since the hybrid era began in 2014, would end as they join junior team Toro Rosso in taking on the Japanese supplier.

For Renault, it was quite a kick in the teeth ahead of their first home race in 10 years at Paul Ricard this weekend, particularly for a company which McLaren dumped in favour of Renault just nine months ago.

“We will do everything we can to make them regret this decision,” Abiteboul said to Motorsport.com.

“What I mean by that is simply doing the best we can on track with our own team under our own colours. I am really extremely excited by the performance improvement to come, in particular with Spec C which we will introduce later this season.

“At this point in time there is no reason to think that Red Bull will not be receiving it, although we are yet to confirm details of engine allocation plan, but I hope that we will make them regret.”

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What Abiteboul would suggest, however, was that the Enstone-based team, with their engine base in Viry, knew Red Bull would ultimately split following the decision to work with McLaren last year.

“Not surprised whatsoever, frankly,” he said about the decision.

“Last year in Singapore we announced a comprehensive set of agreements with both the Red Bull group and McLaren.

“This was featuring a termination of Toro Rosso at the end of 2017 and termination of Red Bull at the end of 2018, even though Red Bull had requested to be a bit more vague about that topic.

“It went in a different direction when Red Bull requested to us an offer, as there was a bit of indecision about which way to go.

“For us, it is more a confirmation of what was in the air, and which is also a strategic and commercial decision more than purely a technical or sporting decision from Red Bull.”

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has also indicated the switch to Honda may have been a little more out of necessity than the team might want to say.

"Renault set an ultimatum that ended on Sunday. We had no choice," said the Austrian.

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