Renault are not convinced of Red Bull’s claims about their Honda engine, saying on-going reliability issues will hamper their progress.
This season Red Bull will race Honda engines after bringing an end to their 12-year partnership with Renault.
It didn’t end on the friendliest terms with both parties publicly insulting the other, and it seems the mind games are by no means over.
Renault CEO Cyril Abiteboul has had another dig at Red Bull and Honda saying if last year’s reliability problems continue, there is no way Honda can push forward.
“That will of course regulate itself if they suddenly concede five engine penalties next season,” he said.
“At Toro Rosso, nobody looks up when something like that happens, but with Red Bull, I expect a bit more whirlwind, and that will of course slow them down.”
Last season Toro Rosso used eight internal combustion engines for each driver, although only they know whether the engines were changed because of improvements or problems.
Red Bull and Honda, though, could throw Toro Rosso under the bus this season with the junior team already stating they are ready to be sacrificed in the name of programme.
Abiteboul said: “But if they want to stick to the rules, they have two or three opportunities to improve the power unit during the season. Just like us.”
“We also have the Constructors’ Championship, and we know those grid penalties have a huge impact on our ability to score points, and we did not want to risk that,” he added.
“Honda is a threat in some ways, but so is everyone else.
“I expect the threat to abate over time, and believe in the progress we have made this winter.”
So the big question is, will Renault’s prediction come true or will Red Bull have the last laugh?