BREAKING: Toro Rosso accuses Renault of sabotage (3rd Update)

Dr Helmut Marko
Dr Helmut Marko

UPDATE (GMM) Red Bull has stepped in to calm a spiraling dispute between its junior F1 team Toro Rosso and mutual engine supplier Renault.

Franz Tost reacted furiously in Brazil when his Renault counterpart Cyril Abiteboul suggested Toro Rosso's spate of reliability problems was "not a coincidence".

In a furious statement, Toro Rosso reacted by revealing it is running short on Renault-supplied spare parts, and hinted that Renault could actually be sabotaging the Faenza based team.

"We mustn't forget that they are fighting with Toro Rosso for a better position in the constructors' championship," said the statement.

"As suggested by Mr Abiteboul, the situation may not be a coincidence".

That suggestion reportedly infuriated Abiteboul, who was subsequently seen in an angry exchange in the Interlagos paddock with Dr Helmut Marko.

With Tost refusing to apologize, the next rumor was that Renault could immediately break the Toro Rosso contract due to damage to the French carmaker's reputation, leaving the team without engines in Abu Dhabi.

Marko, a top Red Bull official, moved to calm the spiraling situation.

"As usual at the end of another long season, emotions are running high but Renault is a valued relationship and will remain so," he said in Brazil.

"There has never been any question that we have not been treated fairly and equitably by our engine suppliers, and that is still true today," Marko added.

Franz Tost furious
Franz Tost furious

11/12/17 Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost has refused to back down from the squad's statement, in which it reacted angrily to Renault's suggestions that it was to blame for recent power unit issues.

Toro Rosso has been hindered by power unit issues in recent events, with both cars set for grid drops in Brazil, the second straight event for Pierre Gasly, and third for Brendon Hartley.

Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul suggested in an interview to Autosport that Toro Rosso could be culpable for the failures, due to operational procedures.

Toro Rosso issued a strong statement on Saturday morning, in reaction to Abiteboul's comments, in which it put full responsibility on Renault.

Tost maintained the rhetoric and refused to back down from Toro Rosso's earlier statement, commenting that Abiteboul sparked the row with his initial interview.

"The statement was a reaction to Cyril's interview yesterday, where he blamed the team for the power unit failures, which is absolutely wrong," Tost told Sky Sports.

"If we do something which is not okay then we tell it, but MGU-H failure or shaft failure is nothing to do with installation of the power unit.

"The fact is that we don't get new parts, we are just changing old parts from one power unit to the other, therefore we are suffering and therefore we have reliability issues.

"We are also not happy about this as we pay a lot of money, we just expect new, good material.

"If we change the power unit, I expect getting all the grid penalties that we get a new power unit with new MGU-H, MGU-K, new turbo, all these parts should be new, then we don't have a problem.

"If we change from one old engine to other old parts then you cannot expect [that] the reliability reaches a high level."

When pressed further on Renault wanting an apology, Tost replied: "What should I apologize for? For all the damages we have?

"I am also upset, then both [of us] are upset. Who started all this nonsense? Cyril yesterday with his stupid interview.

"Should I say, 'Oh fine, good interview from him, we accept it'?, No we don't accept it. Therefore we came out with our statement. That's it, nothing [more] to say."

Alain Prost
Alain Prost

11/11/17 Renault advisor Alain Prost has tried to cool the war of words between themselves and Toro Rosso and promised that the Red Bull junior team will have engines for the season finale.

The slanging match started when Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul suggested that Toro Rosso's reliability problems were self-inflicted and had nothing to do with them.

Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost did not take that accusation kindly and, in a strongly-worded statement, intimated that Renault are getting involved in an act of sabotage to stop them from finishing above the Enstone team in the World Constructors' Championship.

Abiteboul and Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko were then seen having a heated discussion in the paddock over the controversial claims, but Prost is trying his best to calm both sides down.

“We would never play any dirty game to gain one position," Prost told Sky Sports F1.

"We are struggling at the moment at the end of the year, as everybody can see. It’s not good for us, Red Bull or Toro Rosso. I don’t want to enter into the game about what Cyril said.

“They will have an engine in Abu Dhabi, there is no question about that."

Prost also elaborated on the reliability issues that are affecting everyone running Renault power, with the works team and Red Bull also feeling the strain at the end of the season.

He added: “It’s a combination of different things. We improved a lot the engine this year and in fact better than we thought.

We were struggling with some parts, the MGU-H, some problem also with suppliers and then we had more problems with reliability with the three teams, especially Toro Rosso. So sometimes we miss some parts and at the end of the year we are struggling.

“It’s motor racing and sometimes you have a problem and then you have other things coming at the same time which makes it difficult. We are sorry, we do not want to have that.

"We want to finish sixth in the championship but we do not know if we are going to make it due to reliability problems. We suffer like everybody."

Another Renault engine expires for Toro Rosso. McLaren has this to look forward to if they threaten Renault next year.
Another Renault engine expires for Toro Rosso. McLaren has this to look forward to if they threaten Renault next year.


Toro Rosso Statement: Due to recent accusations made in the media from the team’s engine supplier, Toro Rosso wishes to clarify the actual situation regarding the power units.

It comes as a big surprise to the team that Cyril Abiteboul has suggested to the media that the problems Toro Rosso suffers with the power unit are primarily team related, and the way in which the power unit is operated in the STR12 chassis.

We would like to clarify that all the MGU-H and Shaft failures Toro Rosso has recently suffered are not associated with how the team is operating or with how the PU is integrated in the chassis.

Nothing has been changed or altered in this installation during the 2017 season, other than cooling improvements mid-season. Since the summer break Toro Rosso has suffered continuous power unit related failures, and the resulting grid penalties has cost the team points and relative positions in the Constructors’ championship.

One of the primary reasons for the issues we are seeing is the lack of new power unit parts available. In Toro Rosso’s case the team is constantly having to change parts from one PU to another during the weekend and, on many occasions, is forced to run old specification assemblies.

The last race in Mexico saw only two cars out of six finish the race, highlighting the poor reliability.

We mustn’t forget that they are fighting with Toro Rosso for a better position in the Constructors’ championship, as suggested by Mr Abiteboul the situation may not be a coincidence, but it is certainly not due to STR’s car.

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