Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner says he is concerned that engine supplier Renault Sport will start the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season in a specification for reliability.
With the upcoming season introducing a crackdown on engine limits, reducing the parts down to three engines a season, Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said the main focus is achieving reliability heading into the first race in Australia.
Motorsport.com reported at the end of last year that Mercedes are close to achieving an engine that can reach to 1000BHP. Horner said yesterday on the site that if the quotes are true, then they’ll be mighty and should be concerned over Renault’s focus on reliability.
“It is a concern,” said Horner in response to Abiteboul’s comments.
“If the headline figures Mercedes have quoted then the gap will only broaden. Renault have their own team now, they have their own demands they need to meet.
“Reliability has been a big priority for Renault over the winter.
“They have completed more mileage than they have done in this V6 era so they are coming into this year better prepared and hopefully that will allow focus to start to centre on performance.
“We’re hopeful of seeing more performance and performance converging between engine manufacturers.”
Horner also added that he “did not think it would be great” if Mercedes dominate the sport for a fifth year in a row.
“It just emphasises why engine regulations need to be clarified this year for 2021. “The problem is if we go past the midyear, then manufacturers will say there is not enough time for 2021 so there is a lot of positioning going on at the moment.”
“It’s crucial the commercial rights holder and the FIA come out with a clear positioning and regulations, particularly on the engine, by the middle of this year.”
Red Bull enter their final year of their partnership with Renault, as part of their fall-out over Scuderia Toro Rosso‘s separation from Renault. Options are open to the Milton Keynes based team over their future engine supplier with the possibility of moving to Honda.
“All things are open for 2019 onwards. We will play close attention to how things develop at Toro Rosso but there is no preconceptions as we head into the season.”
Horner also added that Renault could “absolutely” supply Red Bull engines next year.