Toro Rosso hit back at engine supplier Renault as row escalates
Toro Rosso have hit back at Cyril Abiteboul's suggestion that the team are largely to blame for recent power unit issues, in a statement that has reportedly left Renault furious.
Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley suffered problems at the Mexican Grand Prix last time out and both drivers will take grid penalties this weekend in Brazil, where further issues have surfaced for the Renault-powered outfit.
Earlier this week, Renault boss Abiteboul was quoted by Motorsport.com as saying: "We do have a little bit of a concern about the way that our engine is operated in the Toro Rosso car ... which may explain why we have had so many issues coming from Toro Rosso specifically. There are never coincidences in this sport."
Those words have prompted a stern response from Toro Rosso, who will run Honda engines from 2018 and insist they are not to blame for the recent spate of power unit issues.
Team Clarification: pic.twitter.com/ySDY2dQYyy— Toro Rosso (@ToroRossoSpy) November 11, 2017
In a statement, Toro Rosso said: "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 [power unit] is integrated in the chassis."
After highlighting "continuous power unit related failures" and the "poor reliability" of their engines, Toro Rosso concluded their statement with a dig at Renault's own team.
They added: "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 down to STR's [Scuderia Toro Rosso's] car."
According to Sky F1, Renault are considering withholding engines from Toro Rosso in Brazil and the season's final race in Abu Dhabi, such is their anger at the Toro Rosso statement.