Toro Rosso have released a strongly-worded statement calling into question Renault's integrity over their supply of engines and parts to the team
An extraordinary row has broken out between Renault and Toro Rosso at the Brazilian GP over engine reliability.
Renault suggested on Friday night that the multiple failures Toro Rosso have suffered in recent races was down to the set-up of the Italian team’s car.
An angry Toro Rosso team responded by releasing a strongly-worded press release which Renault felt called into question their integrity.
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Sky Sports understands Renault are now looking at their contract as to whether they can withhold engines from Toro Rosso for the remainder of the weekend and Abu Dhabi GP.
Toro Rosso will be supplied by Honda in 2018.
Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul was spotted engaged in what appeared to be a furious row with Red Bull and Toro Rosso advisor Helmut Marko in the Interlagos paddock ahead of Saturday morning practice.
According to Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz: “Renault are seriously considering that this might be a break in a contract. Renault are looking at whether it is so significant they can take the engines away from Toro Rosso and leave them to do nothing.”
Toro Rosso have suffered a series of engine failures in recent races and both Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley are facing hefty grid penalties in Brazil for component changes.
Both suffered fresh issues in first practice, prompting Abiteboul to say the French manufacturer had “a little bit of a concern about the way that our engine is operated in the Toro Rosso car”.
“There are never coincidences in this sport,” added Abiteboul.
With two races remaining Toro Rosso are sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, just one place and five points ahead of Renault.
In their angry response, released on Saturday morning, Toro Rosso declared: “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.”
‘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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