Christian Horner renews criticism of Renault after Red Bull struggle at home race
Team chief says manufacturing their own Red Bull engine "not something we want to do" but insists Renault must raise their game
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 22/06/14 6:18pm
Red Bull chief Christian Horner has fired another stinging salvo towards engine suppliers Renault - branding their current performance "unacceptable" - after the World Champions experienced a forgettable home Austrian GP.
Just days after the company’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko exclusively revealed to Sky Sports F1 the team would consider making their own engines from 2016 should they not see a way forward to beat dominant Mercedes with their current partners, Red Bull endured their least competitive race in recent memory around their eponymous circuit on Sunday as Daniel Ricciardo finished only eighth and Sebastian Vettel eventually retired after an earlier crippling loss of power.
After four successive title doubles in partnership with Renualt, Red Bull have been usurped by Mercedes since the sport’s switch to turbo power with their French suppliers beset by unreliability and underperformance since the start of pre-season.
Horner has repeatedly made plain in public of Red Bull’s dissatisfaction with Renault’s power unit while Marko told Sky F1 that, while the partnership would definitely continue into 2015, the team would review their engine options after this weekend’s race – with the prospect of taking the unprecedented step of making their own engines not out of the question.
Speaking in wake of Sunday’s race, Horner described Renault’s performance as “unacceptable” and that too many problems remained.
“It’s been frustrating; we have had another issue today,” Horner told Sky F1’s Damon Hill.
“But at the end of the day we have won four World Championships with Renault, we have won all our races with them. We’ve got to trust them to get on top of these issues.
“There have been too many, but they’re more than aware of that.”
Although Marko said Red Bull would consider “all alternatives” over their future engine supply, Horner admitted becoming engine manufacturers in their own right wasn’t an ideal outcome – but, in a pointed warning to Renault, made clear that they are determined to return to winning ways.
“It’s not something we want to do,” Horner insisted. “We’re chassis designers and producers, we’re not engine manufacturers or designers and it’s not a key part of Red Bull’s philosophy," he added.
“But we want to be competitive, we want to run at the front and Renault need to sort their issues out, they need to get on top of it. They need to change something in order that this doesn’t go forward.”
Asked if the prospect of a move away from Renault in 2016 was a threat, Horner replied: “It’s not a threat. We’re going to have Renault engines next year, maybe even beyond that.
“But we need to get ourselves out of the situation that we’re in and Renault are acutely aware of that. We’ve had eight Mercedes [powered cars] finish in the top ten today, that’s not coincidence.”
Mercedes’ sixth one-two finish of the season means that Red Bull, while still second in the Constructors’ Championship, are 158 points adrift of their Brackley rivals.