Renault have claimed it was easier for them to sign Daniel Ricciardo for the team than it was to make loanee Carlos Sainz's move a permanent one.
Boss Cyril Abiteboul has revealed that the team led by Christian Horner had a hardball stance when it came to their young driver Carlos Sainz, who has since left the Red Bull young driver programme to join rivals McLaren.
“I think we felt like there was something between Renault and Carlos, and its a bit weird, because in the end this allowed us to sign Ricciardo more easily,” said the Frenchman.
The 40-year-old Renault chief said that they were looking to extend Carlos Sainz's temporary stay with the Enstone outfit as far back as the French GP in June, but Horner and Red Bull’s refusal to negotiate actually opened up the opportunity for them to sign the Australian instead.
“It was easier to reach an agreement with Daniel than with Carlos, because clearly Red Bull was blocking our attempt to sign an extension of our agreement with Sainz,” Abiteboul added.
“Honestly, if Red Bull had a less tough position on Carlos, the finally result would have been different: after the French Grand Prix we pushed to try to confirm Carlos, but Red Bull did not want to take this step.
“They had the right to do that, but strangely led them to lose Ricciardo.
“Surely it was not what they would have expected, but [signing Ricciardo] is the result of their hard opposition to letting us continue with Carlos the movement we were interested in doing so.”
The comments are damning of Red Bull and their reluctance to let Sainz leave, since he has gone on to join McLaren for the 2019 season.
Abiteboul seems to have kept the door open for Carlos Sainz to return to the team at some point in the future, praising his move to McLaren and their partnership with Renault power units.
“I’m sure Carlos will play a part in McLaren’s rebirth, and he will continue to use our engines.
“I do not think we’ve burned bridges for the future, we still have things to do together.”
Ricciardo’s move to Renault was certainly considered a shock to the Formula One world, with few people foreseeing the switch.
The Aussie now moves to an engine manufacturer team for the first time in his career and will look to spearhead Renault’s resurgence in the sport, meanwhile, Sainz starts a new adventure with one of the sport's biggest names.
It will be interesting to see how next season plays out, and whether both powerhouse teams can regain former glory.News Now - Sport News