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Horner not ruling out 2017 Renault deal

Christian Horner has confirmed suspicions that the heat of Red Bull’s bitter relationship with Renault has now improved.

Since the end of 2015, Red Bull has reverted to mere customer status and re-branded its Renault units as ‘Tag-Heuer’ for the new season.

And Renault F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has even suggested that, notwithstanding the seemingly terminal feuding of 2015, the French marque may be prepared to renew the new Red Bull deal beyond the end of the season.

“When it comes to Cyril,” Horner said, “there is a great story of love-hate, meaning he loves to hate us!

“No, I’m kidding,” the Briton told France’s L’Equipe.  “We have had some constructive discussions over the winter.

“They accepted some proposed solutions by Mario Illien, and now have some high-quality personnel involved in the project like Bob Bell.  But it will all take some time.

“We need to be patient.  From our side, we are not closing any doors so let’s see how the season gets underway,” Horner added.

And no matter how 2016 actually starts, Horner said he is expecting Renault to steadily improve throughout the season.

“Each new engine should get better and better,” he said.  “The competition will also be interesting, because while we know the progress Renault has made, we will only find out in Barcelona and especially in Melbourne how Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda have improved.

“For us, being in Q3 in Australia would be a good way to start the year,” Horner added.