Bull to remain Renault benchmark, says Horner
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[November 01, 2017]
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Red Bull expect to
remain the Formula One benchmark for Renault next season despite
McLaren switching from Honda to the French manufacturer's engines,
according to team principal Christian Horner.
Red Bull have won three races this season, including Dutch youngster
Max Verstappen's victory in last Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix, while
former champions McLaren last tasted victory in 2012.
Renault's own works team are currently seventh in the 10 team
constructors' championship with two races remaining while McLaren
"McLaren's a great team with strong drivers and we look forward to
competing with them on (the) track," Horner, whose team won both
titles for four years in a row between 2010 and 2013, told Reuters
at the weekend.
"We've made great progress in the second half of this year and
obviously our target and objective is to carry that momentum through
into 2018. They (Renault) have a benchmark in Red Bull," he added.
Renault and McLaren share oil and fuel partners in BP while Red Bull
are with ExxonMobil, the company that sponsored McLaren for 21 years
until they left for Red Bull at the end of last year.
That synergy could work to the advantage of McLaren, with Red Bull
coming close to a split from Renault at the end of 2015 and their
engine now branded as a Tag Heuer -- another former McLaren partner.
There is also lingering uncertainty about what engines Red Bull will
be using after 2018, with media reports in September suggesting
Renault no longer wanted to supply the team beyond then.
Both sides have dismissed that as speculation.
McLaren, meanwhile, are committed to using the French engines until
2020 after ending their failed partnership with Honda -- who will be
making the switch from Renault to Red Bull's Toro Rosso team.
ExxonMobil's global sponsorship manager Kai Decker said his company
relished the challenge of competition between Renault-powered teams
and against its former partners while Horner said fuel developments
had contributed significantly to this year's performance.
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Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner before the race.
"We've had Esso Synergy upgrades this year that have enabled us to
compete with Mercedes and beat them," he said. "It's not
insignificant. It is absolutely noticeable and putting performance
on the car."
He gave no exact figures but Red Bull's chief engineer Paul Monaghan
said in Malaysia last month, a race also won by Verstappen, that the
fuel upgrade had been worth a grid position.
Red Bull also have top designer Adrian Newey, whose cars also won
titles for McLaren, as a prize asset and Horner said he would
continue to split his time between Formula One and other projects
with title sponsor Aston Martin.
"We've got pretty much regulation stability so the lessons we take
out of RB13 (the current car) will go into 14," said Horner.
"Obviously we're hopeful that on the engine side performance and
reliability improve over the winter and they are fundamental aspects
for us. I think we've demonstrated that we've got a really
Since the August break, Red Bull have scored more points (156) than
Ferrari (137), who have won four races this year and are second to
"If we can take these learnings into next year's car then hopefully
we can start on a stronger footing than the second or so that we
were off in Melbourne at the start of the year," added Horner.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)
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