- The Inside Line
Lies, damnable lies, and statisticsKate Walker March 25, 2015
Of the 185 races thus far contested by Infiniti Red Bull Racing, all bar 37 have seen the team powered by Renault engines developed at Viry-Chatillon.
The 2005 season saw the then-rookie outfit classified seventh in the constructors' standings with a Cosworth engine, where they picked up a de rigeur double-DNS at the ill-fated US Grand Prix at Indianapolis. In 2006, the Milton Keynes racers made the move to Ferrari power, and again finished seventh in the constructors' championship.
Despite collecting their first podium finish under Ferrari power, 2007 saw Red Bull make the move to Renault. The Ferrari engine contract was inherited by Scuderia Toro Rosso, and while it was the junior outfit that collected the first fizzy drink race win, the Red Bull-Renault relationship proved beneficial to the Austrian team; the 24 points accrued that season saw them classified fifth at the end of the year.
It was in 2009 that the partnership's championship-winning form first reared its head. The marriage of engine and chassis was a strong one, and Milton Keynes worked with Viry-Chatillon to make the most of what was then nascent double-diffuser technology. Red Bull's first pole position resulted in the team's first victory, a 1-2 for Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Brawn GP claimed both of that year's titles, but Red Bull finished a strong second and collected six wins and ten podiums along the way.
The team's period of utter dominance from 2010 to 2013 is largely credited to Adrian Newey's aerodynamic genius, but RenaultSport F1 also had a significant role to play, working with Red Bull to maximise the gains from blown exhaust gases, engine mapping, and to nail down that legendarily stable rear end that allowed the RB[pick a number] to take high, low, and medium-speed corners as if it were on rails.
One hundred percent of Red Bull's 50 victories have been secured with Renault power. The same can be said of their 57 pole positions and 44 fastest laps. All bar one of the team's 115 first-, second-, and third-placed finishes used Renault engines or power units. (That's 99.13 percent, facts fans!) Four out of four drivers' titles and four out of four constructors' titles were earned with Renault under the engine cover.
And now we have Red Bull's big cheeses blaming Renault for everything that's gone wrong since Mercedes got their power unit oh so right, while Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has gone so far as to call the team liars, saying that his data shows the RB11's problems have as much to do with the chassis and lack of driveability as they do his (admittedly) underperforming power unit.
"It's hard to have a partner who lies," Abiteboul is reported to have told France's Auto Hebdo. "Adrian [Newey] is a charming gentleman and an outstanding engineer, but he spent his life in criticising his engine suppliers. He's too old to change."
Meanwhile, in RenaultSportF1's official Malaysian Grand Prix preview, Abiteboul went into more detail about the issues suffered by the partnership in the opening round in Australia. "Our figures have shown that the laptime deficit between Red Bull and Mercedes in Melbourne was equally split between driveability issues, engine performance and chassis performance," he is quoted as saying. "It's therefore the overall package that needs some help and we have been working with the team to move forward."
That the Red Bull-Renault relationship is deteriorating rapidly is now beyond question. All eyes will be on the Friday press conference in Sepang, at which the FIA have summoned both Abiteboul and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner to appear. Watch this space...