Red Bull Content Pool


Newey pinpoints where things went wrong for Red Bull in its relationship with Renault

Newey pinpoints where things went wrong for Red Bull in its relationship with Renault

8 January - 19:03 Last update: 21:16

From 2007, Red Bull Racing worked with Renault in Formula 1. The French engine supplier supplied power sources to the Milton Keynes-based team up to and including the 2018 season after which the two sides parted ways in a fighting divorce. Adrian Newey talks about where things went wrong in the relationship. He cites 2015 as a key moment, although Red Bull continued to work with Renault for three years afterwards.

When Newey in the podcast Talking Bull is asked what he learned from the period when Red Bull had to leave the world titles to Mercedes, he replies without thinking long. "Having decent engines!"

From joy over Renault engine to dissatisfaction

Between 2010 and 2013, the Austrian formation with Sebastian Vettel won four world titles in a row, using a Renault V8 engine. "We had a great relationship with the engineers at Renault. I think it's fair to say they didn't have the most powerful V8 but it was a product they tailed to suit our car. We had some particular requirements, particularly the way we used the exhaust. They bent over backwards to maximise what we needed from the engine."

And successfully so, but from 2014, everything changed. The hybrid era took off and in it Renault turned out to have missed the mark considerably. "We then went to the hybrid era. Renault, in the first year, interpreted the regulations not as well as Mercedes. We were a long way behind. In the first year you accept that", Newey says. "We all make mistakes, chassis, engine. New regulations you can get it right or wrong. They got it wrong. They made a lot of promises to sort it out for 2015. When the engine at the start of 15 seemed worse than 14, that was a pretty dissolution moment."

Red Bull disappointed

In the first months of 2015, Christian Horner, Helmut Marko and Newey visited Renault themselves. Red Bull wanted answers to a number of questions and to be sure that improvement would follow. "We didn't receive much assurance that there was a real desire to sort that out. That was a pretty depressing moment in truth. You then realise that in the foreseeable future, if you do a spectacular job you might snatch the odd win here or there but you're never going to win the championship. So that was a reset."

Switching to another engine supplier quickly was out of the question at the time, as Mercedes and Ferrari were unwilling to supply power units to a direct competitor and Honda had its own major problems with McLaren at the time.

For the men at Red Bull, it all meant quite a setback, but they kept their spirits up. "But it's part of life. One of the strengths of the team is that we put our heads down and got through that period so that when we had a good power unit again with our partnership with Honda then we were able to respond," Newey concludes his story.

Video player

More videos