Red Bull’s harsh words prompted Renault evolution

Renault announced last week that they had signed a new contract to supply Red Bull (RBR) with power unit for two more years. Why the reversal and new contract given the strain and tension in the relationship that saw RBR end its contract early? According to RBR’s Christian Horner, that tension prompted Renault to up its game:

“There has been a big restructuring within Viry and the right people are now in the right roles.

“They’ve got some good consultants, they’ve hired wisely from some of their competitors, so the change from 12 months ago is a culmination of factors that have come together.

“There was a tension, but I’d like to think in some way that tension focused change, and the change that has taken place has been for the best.

“What we are seeing now is the partnership again working well.”

I’ll take his word for it as he’s close the glowing embers of that relationship and to be fair, it isn’t the first time two partners have fallen in and out of love. Engine suppliers have come and gone and supply contracts have ebbed and flowed. Look at McLaren and Honda after Mercedes ditched the team in favor of Brawn GP and ultimately their own works team.

Smaller teams have lived and died with the supply contracts they have such as Sauber and when their Ferrari lump was on song, things were good but when it wasn’t, things were tough. Sauber then left for BMW and then BMW left the series to go build hybrid cars leaving Sauber coming back to Ferrari presumably hat-in-hand.

For RBR to re-saddle the Renault horse isn’t a big mystery for me as the new power unit used in Monaco was there or thereabouts and if it weren’t for that dodgy pit stop for Daniel Ricciardo, they would have won that race.

I also applaud Renault for having the guts to supply RBR even though they now have a full works team and that’s something Mercedes and Ferrari couldn’t find the bravery to do. I like Renault Sport a lot and they have great media outreach, confidence in their own team to compete with RBR’s superior chassis designs and that’s something to be admired.