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2018 F1

Abiteboul reveals why Red Bull decided to drop Renault engines

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Cyril Abiteboul says he understands why Red Bull decided to drop its supply of Renault engines.

The energy drink owned team announced this week that it will instead use Honda power in 2019 and 2020.

Asked by L’Equipe if he is relieved or disappointed now that the news is finally out, Renault boss Abiteboul answered: “Neither one nor the other.

“We got an answer after waiting almost a year.

“Last year in Singapore we announced that one day we planned to stop the cooperation. We expected this separation after Renault returned as a factory team,” the Frenchman explained.

“We perfectly understood that Red Bull would look for another partner to regain their status as the factory team.”

Abiteboul said losing Red Bull will not affect Renault even from a marketing point of view, adding that the new cooperation with McLaren also is not for an image boost.

“We supply them with engines because it is important to have two teams for data collection. For the company’s interests and in terms of marketing, it starts and ends with the yellow cars of Renault Sport F1,” he insisted.

Losing Red Bull, however, will cost Renault money, with some estimates saying that together with Toro Rosso the loss in income since 2017 is about EUR 25 million per year.

“We will receive less,” Abiteboul confirmed, “but we will not have less to spend.

“Supplying engines to Red Bull required money but did not generate much revenue. So parting with them will not affect our budget.”

But at the end of the day, Abiteboul insists Renault is not “relieved” the Red Bull era is finally ending.

“It’s not a story that ended badly,” he said. “I don’t like the word relief. I prefer to talk about the logical development of events.

“For us I am happy, because now we can concentrate on preparing for 2021. And I’m happy for Red Bull Racing, as they have found a new partner, and for Honda, because we have four manufacturers in formula one.

“We just needed an answer, and that’s why we hurried our partners a little. And I thank them for that,” Abiteboul added.

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