Following recent comments by Adrian Newey, in which the Red Bull design guru suggested that some of the Austrian outfit's previous criticism was strategic, a bid to either get the French manufacturer to invest more in its engine development or actually quit F1 altogether, as their power unit continued to lose ground to Mercedes and Ferrari, Christian Horner was asked to explain.
"I think what he is referring to is actually back in 2015, where we'd had several conversations," said Horner, "we'd been to Paris, we'd seen Carlos Ghosn, we'd presented what our concerns were and I think by 2015, when the engine was arguably worse than it was in 2014, then frustration boiled over to the point that it was like 'OK, if we are more open about what our frustrations are, maybe it will force a reaction'. It didn't!
"So Cyril (Abiteboul) came back into the full brunt of it," he continued, referring to the Frenchman joining Renault Sport F1 as managing director following his time as team boss at Caterham.
"So yeah, it was one of things that you try every mechanism that you can to try to generate competiveness and at that time it was felt that maybe Renault couldn't possibly afford the embarrassment of these engines not being competitive and not being reliable and not delivering, but yeah, unfortunately it didn't work."
"It was very good until the last words... 'it didn't work'," responded Abiteboul. "One thing we can give credit to Christian and Red Bull is that they are fantastic at communication strategy and communication is part of this world, it's part of Formula 1, it's part of your strategy and your tactics. It's not the first team and it's not the last team to use all the weaponry of this world, and frankly you guys, to influence what is going on.
"I was reading yesterday that Max is happy to take an engine penalty - amazing! You know, that's part of this world, but I don't want to lose sight of the fact, and I would concur with Christian in relation to that, our engine was not at the required level in 2014 and 2015. There are mitigating circumstances.
"You know, we were extremely happy," he continued, "and Renault has contributed to making Red Bull what it is today by winning four championships in a row - from a financial perspective with sponsors, from a technology perspective with talent, recruitment - Red Bull is what it is today thanks also to Renault.
"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say that. But then, later on, indeed we lost a little bit the momentum and sight of what needed to be done for 2014 regulations. The rest is history and we’ll see what the future is holding."