Cyril Abiteboul

Battle for 6th – Angry Toro Rosso hit back at Renault over engine failures

Toro Rosso hit back at power-unit supplier Renault on Saturday over a sequence of costly failures and suggested they may not be unrelated to the battle for sixth place in the F1 championship.

Toro Rosso duo Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley suffered engine problems at the Mexican Grand Prix last time out and the duo will take grid penalties this weekend in Brazil, where further issues have surfaced for the Renault-powered outfit.

While, we must not forget that the engine in the sister Red Bull car has won two of the last four Grands Prix with Max Verstappen.

Toro Rosso is on 53 points in sixth place and Renault has 48 with two rounds to go.

Red Bull, sister team Toro Rosso believes that the FIA rules mean that the Renault has to supply them an engine if they require it, but the French power-unit supplier has made it clear that they would prefer not to.

Renault signed a contract with McLaren to supply engines from next season.

Earlier this week, Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul said at Interlagos on Friday that he had: “We do have a little bit of a concern about the way that our engine is operated in the Toro Rosso car … which may explain why we have had so many issues coming from Toro Rosso specifically. There are never coincidences in this sport.”

An angry Toro Rosso F1 team responded by releasing a strongly-worded press release which Renault felt called into question their integrity.

“Due to recent accusations made in the media from the team’s engine supplier, Toro Rosso wishes to clarify the actual situation regarding the power units,” a statement from Toro Rosso reads.

“It comes as a big surprise to the team that Cyril Abiteboul has suggested to the media that the problems Toro Rosso suffers with the power unit are primarily team related, and the way in which the power unit is operated in the STR12 chassis.

“We would like to clarify that all the MGU-H and Shaft failures Toro Rosso has recently suffered are not associated with how the team is operating or with how the PU is integrated in the chassis.

“Nothing has been changed or altered in this installation during the 2017 season, other than cooling improvements mid-season. Since the summer break Toro Rosso has suffered continuous power unit related failures, and the resulting grid penalties has cost the team points and relative positions in the Constructors’ championship.

“One of the primary reasons for the issues we are seeing is the lack of new power unit parts available. In Toro Rosso’s case the team is constantly having to change parts from one PU to another during the weekend and, on many occasions, is forced to run old specification assemblies.

“The last race in Mexico saw only two cars out of six finish the race, highlighting the poor reliability.”

Toro Rosso offered a parting shot by noting the close battle between the teams for P6 in the F1 teams’ standings heading into the final two races of the season.

Toro Rosso currently sits five points clear of Renault, but has scored just one point since Singapore, allowing Renault to catch up.

”We mustn’t forget that they are fighting with Toro Rosso for a better position in the Constructors’ championship, as suggested by Mr. Abiteboul the situation may not be a coincidence, but it is certainly not due to STR’s car,” the statement says.

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