Renault/Red Bull buried hatchet for Project Pitlane

Date published: May 3 2020

Christian Horner: Red Bull and Renault put aside past sues for Project Pitlane.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner has described how Renault and Red Bull put their history aside for Project Pitlane.

The initiative was designed to bring the manufacturing power of Formula 1 teams together to develop equipment to be used to help people suffering in these times.

Renault and Red Bull it’s safe to say are not the best of friends after their messy break-up in 2018, which brought an end to their long-standing engine deal.

But they were paired together as part of Project Pitlane and Horner was blown away by the efforts of his team.

“I think it said a huge amount for Formula 1. We approached the government as soon as we saw this crisis looming, and then got in coordination with other teams as well,” he told Motorsport.com.

“We identified a project that we were assigned to, and we were assigned to it with Renault. I was astounded to see the volunteers that stepped forward unconditionally 24/7 to support this project.

“We had people like our chief designer Rob Marshall working on it. I think he did three successive all-nighters on it, and unbelievable efforts that were going in to turn what was a fairly rudimentary concept into a fully-functional, fully-developed, ventilator.”

Horner said at times like these it was important to put aside the past issues between Red Bull and Renault.

“At that point your competitive spirit goes out the window, and it’s about coming up with solutions,” he said.

“So we had people from Renault working in our factory, in their own team kit, in our race bays, in our facility. Unthinkable under normal circumstances!

“We had [Renault technical advisor] Bob Bell working alongside Rob Marshall, coming up with solutions that astounded the industry.

“It was not only the solution, but also the speed at which Formula 1 operates, because solutions were identified and machined overnight, and running on a rig by the time people came back in the following morning.

“What normally would have taken three years to get this machine signed off was actually done in three-and-a-half weeks.”

The project was ultimately stopped with the ventilator not needed to use on patients, but Horner was still immensely proud of the collective efforts.

“Of course there was a degree of disappointment when we didn’t then go into flat out production once we were geared up to do that,” he said.

“But then also, when you thought about it, it was actually a very good thing that they weren’t required, because it meant that the need for the National Health Service wasn’t so dire that these emergency ventilators weren’t going to be required.

“I think it highlighted Formula 1’s ingenuity, it’s ability to problem solve, rapid prototype, and come up with fixes, and just the can-do attitude, and never be beaten philosophy of Formula 1.

“I think it epitomised all the positives about the sport, and some of the cleverest and brightest engineers in the country that work in Formula 1.”

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