Honda vs. Renault
As we know, Renault's team principal Cyril Abiteboul has been asking Reb Bull Racing’s management to make its decision about engine supplier for some time now. The answer from the latter was always the same: the team from Milton Keynes wants to take its time to compare Honda and Renault in order to make a better, beneficial choice. One of the races that could determine the choice was last week’s Canadian Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen managed to share the podium with Ferrari and Mercedes’ drivers, and Daniel Ricciardo finished the race on the fourth position.
However, Abiteboul isn’t quite happy with the result, thinking that Red Bull was potentially missing some performance – because of the fuel they use – with the latest engine introduced in Canada. (Let us recall that while McLaren and Renault itself use BP/Castrol fuel and lubricants, Red Bull has a deal with Exxon/Mobil).
"I was secretly hoping that Red Bull would have the pace to win," he said. "They were very, very close to that, but not quite there. We have more to come, and they could have more to come from the fuel. "
"We know exactly what they [Renault's engines] are providing, and they are providing what we advertised they would a few weeks, if not a few months, ago."
At the same time, Abiteboul felt it necessary to warn Red Bull from moving to Honda, as this step could throw them back while Renault will slowly but surely make its way to the top:
"I am concerned, they [Red Bull] have a chance with us to become world champion again. I cannot say for Honda" he added.
Signing Mercedes’ man
On the way to success Renault team commits important personnel changes. On Thursday it became known that they managed to capture Mercedes’ head of powertrain integration and transmission design, Matthew Harman, as their new deputy chief designer. Harman will start to work with his new team from September 1 2018.
Speaking of the signing, Cyril Abiteboul said: “We are delighted to have attracted someone of Matthew’s calibre to enable the team to anticipate on the design cycle of future cars, a crucial benefit, something we are currently missing since the team’s acquisition and that will become even more important with the upcoming changes planned for 2021.”
It should be noted that Harman has worked with Mercedes for more than 17 years. He originally joined its engine division in 2001 as engineering team leader, and then moved to the powertrain integration position ten years later.
Some rumors also say there is a possibility of Renault also being interested in… Adrian Newey. According to Motorsport.com a meeting between Newey and a representative of Renault was held on this weekend – not an official one, but firstly dedicated to the engine supplier problems discussed above.
Let us recall that over the past 20+ years Newey has shown himself as one of the most successful and innovative designers in Formula-1. Williams monsters of 90th, McLaren, Red Bull ‘Vettel’s era’ from 2010 to 2013 – all of these victories over the years made Adrian one of the key members in any team.
Now his contract with Red Bull Racing expires at the end of the year, so we can fully understand where the rumors came from.