Renault believe Red Bull should take some blame for their woes in Melbourne after pushing the French manufacturer to make last minute changes to its engine.
The changes, which according to Cyril Abiteboul bypassed their usual quality checks, were rushed through due to pressure from Red Bull who demanded a “fierce” development programme in order to catch Mercedes and Ferrari.
“We had a last-minute engine development in which we bypassed our normal quality and test bench validation processes,” he told L’Equipe.
“It was these changes that caused the problems in Melbourne, and it is what we are now focusing on [changing] at the factory prior to Sepang.
“We were very aggressive because Red Bull wanted us to develop fiercely. Now we have to ask ourselves how we could forget our traditional methods. We have been manufacturing F1 engines for 37 years. We know what we need to do,” he explained.
Abiteboul insists nothing is lost yet and believes a full recovery can be made later in the season, citing their problems during pre-season testing last year as reason to be hopeful.
“If we had said before the 2014 season that we would win three grands prix, you would have laughed at us,” he added. “Will we be playing for wins in the short term? No. But we will be back. In order to fight on par with Mercedes, we need some more time.”
Meanwhile, in response to Red Bull’s criticism, he requests the Milton Keynes team leave them to do their job without interfering.
“We won together for years, and currently we are having problems together.
“So far, we have followed and listened to the directives of Red Bull, but clearly the chassis and the engine are two different universes. Everybody should be able to do their job in peace.”