Renault Sport F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says the manufacturer's current power deficit to Mercedes can be traced back to a decision taken by Flavio Briatore over ten years ago!
Since the advent of the V6 turbo hybrid era in Formula 1, we've heard a number of explanations from Renault about the performance and reliability shortfall of its power unit compared to Mercedes or Ferrari.
In the past, the French manufacturer has invoked driveability issues, a far too aggressive approach or the opposite, inventory shortfalls with regard to crucial components and various engineering difficulties.
But apparently the main culprit for Renault's relative deficit is the man who was in charge of the team a decade ago, and one ill-inspired decision he took back then.
"Viry-Châtillon is a team which needs to be rebuilt and where everyone needs to learn to work together once again," Abiteboul told Auto-Hebdo.
"Today, we continue to pay the price for Flavio Briatore's decision back in 2007 to fire hundreds of people when it was decided to freeze engine development.
"It was a withdrawal from F1 while Mercedes maintained its activities, acquired Ilmor and invested in the future with several road-going projects which prefigured what would happen in F1.
Abiteboul therefore sees two opposite cases that explain the current difference between Renault and Mercedes' respective state of affairs.
"Since I've taken charge (in 2014), I've recruited about a hundred people at Viry-Châtillon," says the Frenchman.
"The structure has obviously been modified, with a redistribution of responsibilities. People now need to work together, and understand each other without words."