Renault had “a big winter” – Horner

2017 F1 season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner talked up the gains Renault have made with the teams TAG Heuer-branded power unit during the off-season.

“It’s a brand new engine this year, a change of philosophy,” said Horner. “They’ve had a big winter.”

“We’re hoping for a step in performance and if that’s delivered then hopefully we can really be a challenger team this year and give the Mercedes and Ferraris a hard time.”

Chief technical officer Adrian Newey admitted Renault have “again done good work” over the winter. “We anticipate through this year they will again close the gap to our two main rivals. From that we’ll see where we are.”

Horner predicted a ferocious development race now the aerodynamic rules have been relaxed.

“What excites us most about 2017 is the opportunities that arise from these new regulations,” he said. “It’s going to be fascinating to see who’s got it right, who’s got it wrong.”

“And it’s going to be a development race all the way from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi. And you’ll see big increments early on because the regulations are pretty immature. I think there’s going to be low-hanging fruit early on to make sizeable steps.”

“That’s going to be fascinating, that’s going to push every department in the whole team to try and outwit, outsmart, out-develop, out-produce our rivals.”

F1 should be “ultimate chariot racing”

Horner welcomed F1’s new rules for the upcoming season, which Red Bull were major proponents of, but urged the sport to do more to entertain and focus less on technology.

“Red Bull’s ethos towards Formula One has always been Formula One is a sport foremost,” said Horner. “And as a sport it needs to entertain.”

“It’s got to be man and machine at the absolute limit. I think perhaps we need to think a little less about technology and a little bit more about ultimate chariot racing that Formula One should be.”

“And I think there’s a great opportunity moving forwards to really address some of those points, to bring the noise back into Formula One, turn the volume up. The cars are looking great this year it’d be fantastic if they sounded a bit louder as well.”

“Make the drivers the stars and the heroes they should me. Give more access to those drivers and personalities that exist within Formula One. I think they’re the core elements that need to be focused on.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Renault had “a big winter” – Horner”

  1. Sounds like everything has settled down and all is truly well between Red Bull and Renault. Abiteboul has even complimented Red Bull for their excellence as a team, and being a great benchmark for Renault. Nice to see they were able to overcome their frustration. F1 needs a strong RB-Renault collaboration to challenge the Mercedes and Ferrari works teams, and even Mclaren-Honda in the future.

    1. Also there’s the massive amount of money they make selling engines for 4 Red Bull cars.

      1. @praxis
        Are you sure? It wouldn’t surprise me if the whole venture was a net loss for Renault.

        1. Nah, Renault is making RB pay exorbitant amounts for their power units after they clashed with each other. That’s why they are branded TAG-Heuer.

          1. @paeschli

            Renault is making RB pay exorbitant amounts for their power units after they clashed with each other.

            That might be true, but it would be a logical fallacy to assume that this automatically means that Renault make any money with it, much less “massive amounts”. The manufacturers who are in F1 are not there to make huge profit out of F1 itself. If that were the case, we’d have more engine manufacturers. Mercedes, Renault and Honda are first and foremostly promoting their brands with their involvement in F1, as well as researching combustion engine and hybrid technologies to a much lesser extent.

            The development of F1 engines, especially the new hybrids, is sickeningly expensive. Even under the old, “frozen” development rules in 2010, the Mercedes engine department spent well over £75 million on their V8s. In the following year, when the development of the new V6 began, they increased their spending to over £115 million, and they’e rumoured to have invested in the vicinity of £500 million in the development of the engine by the time it first hit the track in 2014.
            Unlike Mercedes, Renault had to overhaul their design completely at one point, so I think it’s reasonable to assume that they’ve spent somewhere between 500 million and a billion squid up to now. Unless an engine costs as much as the entire Manor team, I don’t think there’s a way to operate profitably as an engine manufacturer in F1. Not even when your whiny customer rebrands your engine as a watch.

    2. @me4me

      Nice to see they were able to overcome their frustration.

      You almost make that sound like it was Renault who constantly slandered Red Bull when they underperformed …

      But yeah, good to hear some optimism.

      1. Guybrush Threepwood
        20th February 2017, 20:33

        When Renault refused to use RBR’s own sponsored developments and then the engine turned out to be even worse in 2015 I think RBR had a right to be frustrated. Whatever they did obviously worked though…

        1. @ Guybrush Threepwood
          I beg to differ on two points:
          1. I never said anything against a feeling of frustration, but the way it was communicated annoyed me because it was childish and destructive.
          2. As far as I know, the 2015 setback didn’t happen despite Red Bull’s intervention, but largely also because of it, as they exerted pressure on Renault to implement developments that Renault themselves considered dubious.

          But I really appreciate the tone in which you gave your opinion, setting a stark contrast to Mister Duke below. I think I shall be keeping my distance from this sir’s comments.

      2. That’s because Red Bull continuously over performed and are the literal benchmark in over performing dollar
        For dollar.

        Renault should be on hands and knees asking for forgiveness. At the end of 2015 Cyril A even stated that his engineering department had run out of ideas. Red Bull single handedly paid for 2016 developed with their own consultants as the yellow squad had no answers.

        Tag is on the side of Red Bull’s cars because Renault doesn’t deserve to be. Cyril is only at Renault because of family connections, don’t expect Renault anywhere near Red Bull until he is gone.

  2. TAG-Heur branded engine and Austin Martin and Infinity featured on the car…. Renault who?! That’s those yellow guys at the back right?

    1. Infiniti left at the end of 2015.

  3. Here’s to hoping Red Bull and Mercedes will be pretty equal this season…

  4. Horner’s ugly side (especially during the 2014s, 15s) will continue to haunt me. The guy looks positive in most of the interviews but still, he bugs me.

    I really hope Redbull continue their momentum from last year and get close to the Mercs !

    1. Horner’s ugly side? That’s just Geri.

    2. This ahem gentleman walked out on his pregnant wife to shack up with a Spicey girl called Ginger. Tells you all you need to know about how he treated Renault during the last few years and how he tried to get in bed with Mercedes. Luckily they weren’t that stupid. BWOAH.

      1. Classy. You do know she cheated on him while pregnant right?

        1. @The Duke

          You do know she cheated on him while pregnant right?


    3. Agreed. Although I enjoyed watching RedBull success for the first few championships – He’s a whiner. And ^^^ BWOAH all around :O

  5. I wonder if Red Bull stick to it’s policy – if they are very slow, they threaten to quit F1. “We are here to win”

    1. I understand they have lobbied the FIA to use the Red Bull drink as fuel for their cars. Apparently it gives you wings and better aero performance.

    2. Unlike Ferrari and mclaren who refuse to win or even attempt at it.

      They also threaten to quit when thing didn’t go their way and they don’t even win.

      You know who else threatens to quit? Mercedes.

  6. I don’t understand why they want to go backwards to catch Ferrari… On another note, glad to see that it’s only looking forwards with Renault, but can not expect otherwise until Renault is true contender. The smart option is to developped the engine based on RedBull as long as the chassis is not there, then switch to their factory team to take advantage of a mature engine.

  7. Now that Bernie has left the theater, Horner can succeed him as F1’s best two-faced liar. Even when he appears to make a statement not based on self-interest, the question is: Where is the hidden self-interest?

    While every team is self-interested, when Horner speaks about ‘sporting’ and ‘entertainment’ in F1 it’s neither sporting nor entertaining.

    1. You make a great point on Horner. I do agree with him though on the “ultimate chariot racing” 100%

    2. So Horner is exactly like toto and brown and the cigarette guy?

      Alonso’s boss would threaten to quit F1 for no reason. So would Lewis’s boss, so would the cigarette guy.

      You must be new to F1.

  8. Looks like their going to take another off season championship this year!

  9. @keithcollantine It seems as if the new helmet design of Max Verstappen already spilled the beans on the livery of the RB13:
    He changed from a glossy finish with lots of orange to the matte finish which RBR also used on the RB12. So although we can expect some tweaking, the news is that this seems to be the first liver that won’t change significantly, Renault, Sauber and Williams have some quite different liveries compared to last year.

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