Renault: Ricciardo didn't buy 'unimpressive' Red Bull Honda praise

Renault Sport Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul believes new recruit Daniel Ricciardo was not convinced by Red Bull's praise of Honda, which he says was "unfair" on Renault

Red Bull will ditch Renault engines at the end of the season and switch to Honda, which Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said earlier this week had better resources than any of its rivals.

But Abiteboul said Ricciardo had reservations about Honda's power unit, despite positive noises from Toro Rosso and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner insisting that Honda was a better long-term bet.

"What I appreciate is the fact that Daniel has his position, his agenda, his situation, which I don't want to comment on," Abiteboul told Autosport.

"But I don't think he was impressed by Red Bull's communications strategy, vis a vis Renault, vis a vis Honda, and how perfect Honda is.

"I think it's a bit unfair to Renault. I think Honda is progressing, but all the communication of Toro Rosso regarding Honda, when Honda has already introduced 11 or 12 power units - frankly it's a joke, and unimpressive.

"That they can influence a guy like Pierre Gasly I can understand, and not a driver like Daniel Ricciardo, and that I respect."

Abiteboul also insisted Renault's decision to hire Ricciardo was not motivated by trying to put one over on Red Bull and that there was no last minute push to persuade the Australian to move.

Ricciardo's announcement came less than a week after Red Bull team principal Christian Horner slammed Renault live on TV after Max Verstappen retired from the Hungarian Grand Prix with an MGU-K failure.

"It was nothing to do with the driver decision," said Abiteboul. "Frankly we don't think like that.

"In F1 you are always in competition for something, for an engineer, a sponsor, a position in the championship, drivers, many other things.

"We've not done or said anything, we are extremely genuine, we are honest in the way that we are presenting the facts. I have not suddenly made a representation or promise regarding next year or what he will get regarding salary.

"We are extremely straightforward in all of this.

"He knew the deal on the table, in terms of financial arrangements, but also in terms of the team, the shape we are in, the responsibility that we have to be part of the construction of the team and therefore of the car which is still not at the level of Red Bull, and will not be at the level of Red Bull next year. I think he knows that.

"It was just a thinking process in his own mind, he needed maybe the time a couple of days into the break to make this final decision, but there was not anything new on the our side in the last moments.

"Our offer had been around for a while, and he decided very late that it was the way that he wanted to follow for himself."

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