Truth bomb in Renault-Red Bull spat
The ongoing feud between Renault and Red Bull continues to throw up juicy titbits as the French team offered a blunt reality check amid the teams' sour relationship.
Red Bull split from engine supplier Renault at the end of 2018 following a decade-long spell which included four consecutive F1 world championships, but also a barren spell from 2014 onwards as the manufacturer failed to keep up with rivals in the hybrid era.
The two teams traded barbs last year as Red Bull regularly accused Renault of failing to deliver a reliable power unit, blaming the engine provider for a series of mechanical failures that crippled the energy drink team's season.
Red Bull star Max Verstappen was also critical of Renault's engines as the yellow and black outfit was forced to defend itself amid mounting criticism that it was responsible for Red Bull's woes.
The constant bickering led to a testy relationship between Red Bull boss Christian Horner and his Renault counterpart Cyril Abiteboul - which only worsened when Renault poached Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull despite Horner repeatedly stating he wanted the Aussie star to re-sign.
Now Abiteboul has reminded the Bulls just how important his contribution was to making it the most dominant team in F1 during Sebastian Vettel's run of four straight titles from 2010-2013.
"We were extremely happy and Renault has contributed to making Red Bull what it is today by winning four championships in a row," Abiteboul told Autosport.com.
"From a financial perspective with sponsors, from a technology perspective with talent, recruitment - Red Bull is what it is today thanks also to Renault.
"But then, later on, indeed we lost a little bit the momentum and sight of what needed to be done for 2014 regulations. The rest is history and we'll see what the future is holding.
Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey has admitted the team's constant public criticism of Renault was part of a ploy to force it to improve and Abiteboul said at the weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix he wasn't surprised Renault's rival tried to use media pressure to influence its engine performance.
"One thing we can give credit to Christian and Red Bull is that they are fantastic at communication strategy," Abiteboul said.
"Communication is part of this world, it's part of Formula 1, it's part of your strategy and your tactics.
"It's not the first team and it's not the last team to use all the weaponry of this world, and frankly you guys (the media), to influence what is going on."
Abiteboul admitted Renault struggled to meet the required standards in 2014 and 2015 and Horner revealed Red Bull's strategy to try and lift the engine performance ultimately didn't work.
"By 2015, when the engine was arguably worse than it was in 2014, then frustration boiled over to the point that it was like, 'OK, if we are more open about what our frustrations are, maybe it will force a reaction'," Horner told Autosport.com.
"Cyril came back into the full brunt of it. It was one of things that you try every mechanism that you can to try to generate competitiveness.
"At that time it was felt that maybe Renault couldn't possibly afford the embarrassment of these engines not being competitive and not being reliable and not delivering."
Red Bull partnered with Honda after cutting ties with Renault and while there have been some promising early-season signs about its relationship with the new engine supplier, the team is still well behind Ferrari and Mercedes in the race for this season's constructors' championship.
With Sky Sports