Horner and Abiteboul renew old war-of-words rivalry
Christian Horner and Cyril Abiteboul have renewed their old Formula 1 rivalry that has resulted in a tit-for-tat spat.
The duo often locked horns in the final acrimonious years of Red Bull's partnership with then engine supplier Renault as the seasons of success became a distant memory.
Ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix the duo have again clashed, with Abiteboul initially offering his thoughts as to why Red Bull often start a season slowly, and Horner responding in kind.
Abiteboul has claimed there was a certain disconnect and a lack of unity between Renault and Red Bull that proved detrimental to the programme.
"I think Red Bull is a fantastic team," said Abiteboul initially. "But in my opinion, Red Bull has missed a trick of modern Formula 1 where you can't have the chassis organisation and the engine organisation that are so distant if you want to fight for wins in a consistent manner.
"Probably the struggle it can face at the start of a season, but more actually, even in the course of a season is a demonstration of that. You really need to be one group of people, one team, one mindset, and we have failed to do that, all together.
"It just looks like they are able to do much better with Honda, but it just shows the level of complexity and perfection that is required to win, and in particular, to beat Mercedes."
Horner has confirmed to watching and listening to Abiteboul, whose remarks were aired during Friday's team principals' press conference.
Naturally, Horner countered the remarks of the Frenchman. "What he said was that we couldn't win without having and making our own engine, because they are not fully integrated," said Horner.
"I watched his comments and I thought it was quite interesting. Well, I would say that we are as integrated with Honda as you would be. It's a proper partnership, and more integrated than we ever were with Renault in the V6 era.
"We won four world championships and 60-odd races paying for our engines from Renault. So I would certainly counter that, in that the relationship with Honda is a partnership as opposed to a customer-supplier relationship."
Suggested to Horner that geography might be an issue given Honda is in Japan, he replied: "No more than Paris and Enstone.
"They have a factory in Milton Keynes, just around the corner, where all their race team is based, so their engine facilities are closer to us than Renault's are to them."
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