Horner hails ‘Tag Heuer engine partners’

While last year there was plenty of criticism levelled at Renault, this year Christian Horner has paid “compliments to our Tag Heuer engine partners” after Max Verstappen’s Spanish win.

Last season Red Bull did all they could to end their collaboration with engine supplier Renault but, with none of the other engine manufacturers will to power them, they returned to the French company.

Red Bull signed a one-year deal to run Tag Heuer branded Renault engines in the 2016 F1 Championship.

Just five races into the season, that new deal paid off with a victory in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix as Max Verstappen held off Kimi Raikkonen to take the chequered flag.

“I have to pay compliments to our Tag Heuer engine partners who have done a great job in making progress,” Reuters quotes Horner as having said in the wake of the race.

“I think that with what’s in the pipeline for coming races there’s a lot of reason for optimism. If we get what’s advertised then it’s going to put us in a position at least to race Ferraris every weekend.

“Then, hopefully, we can get into trying to close that gap with Mercedes at certain circuits.”

Renault are testing an upgraded power unit during this week’s two-day in-season at the Barcelona circuit with the aim of running it at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Asked whether Renault could push that upgrade forward to the next race on the calendar, the Monaco GP, Horner said: “If we can find a few tenths on the power unit side, it’s certainly going to be gratefully received.

“Let’s see how the test goes but if there was any opportunity to be even more competitive in Monaco we’d take it. But that’s a decision for the guys from Renault.

“We’ll do the testing and then they will look at the numbers.”

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