Red Bull's Christian Horner says changes made at Renault are 'positive'
Team boss had described performance as "unacceptable"
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 08/07/14 2:19pm
Two weeks after describing Renault’s performance as “unacceptable”, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says management changes the French manufacturer has since made are “positive”.
Renault announced last Thursday that former Caterham Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul was re-joining to head up the Renault Sport F1 operation, with division President Jean-Michel Jalinier stepping down in the wake of the difficulties they’ve had adapting to F1’s new hybrid era.
“I think Jean-Michel did as good a job as he could for Renault. He’s decided to leave and we wish him the best of luck for the future,” Horner said after Sunday’s British GP.
“Now with the appointment of Cyril, I think it’s a very positive thing and we’ll be working very closely with him to try and support him.
“It’s in all our interests to try and close that gap down to Mercedes.”
After a bitterly disappointing home race for Red Bull in Austria – an engine software glitch forced World Champion Sebastian Vettel’s retirement - Horner was outspoken in his criticism of Renault.
“There needs to be change at Renault, because it can’t continue like this. It’s not good for Renault, it’s not good for Red Bull,” he said at the time.
The same weekend, moreover, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko suggested they might consider producing their own power unit should Renault – with whom they have a deal until the end of 2015 – fail to improve.
Horner said it was unlikely Red Bull would become a full works outfit, although there have still been suggestions that their influence at Renault Sport’s Viry-Chatillon HQ could grow to such an extent that they might use it to start afresh with a brand new power unit in 2016.
That remains to be seen but with Abiteboul – who is seen as Red Bull-friendly - taking over the helm and Lotus appearing destined to switch from Renault to Mercedes power, Horner expressed satisfaction with the outcome.
“They need to focus on one team in reality,” he added. “I think the changes they’ve made have been really positive for Renault and for Red Bull.”