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Renault discourages Red Bull to switch to Honda power

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Renault's Cyril Abiteboul believes a switch to Honda power would compromise Red Bull Racing's chances of winning the world championship in the near future.

The Milton-Keynes-based outfit is currently weighing its options for 2019 and beyond, considering a deal with Honda which it is closely monitoring at junior squad Toro Rosso or pursuing its relationship with long-time partner Renault.

Abiteboul warned its partner against a change however, insisting Red Bull may have a lot to lose at a time when the French manufacuter is slowly but surely closing the power gap to its Ferrari and Mercedes rivals.

"I understand what they are looking to get," Abiteboul told Sky.

"They are looking to the technical and commercial side, because it is clearly different remaining a customer and partner of Renault versus becoming a works team with Honda.

"It is very different and I appreciate that. But frankly, as far as I am concerned, they have a chance with us to become world champion again. I cannot say for Honda," he added.

"With what they have now, what is coming in the pipeline, and their car which is clearly a great car, maybe the greatest out there, they have the chance to be world champion again within the next two years."

Renault and Red Bull have won together and lost together in the past, but the two partners have often been at odds with each other since the advent of the hybrid era in Formula 1.

Abiteboul believes the association's heritage is one of great value, but the Frenchman also sees Red Bull as an important benchmark for its own works effort.

"It is a complex decision for them and for us," he said.

"But maybe it is my emotional side. I have been working 12 years of pulling my hairs with Christian [Horner] and Helmut [Marko], and I don't want to lose any of that.

"But frankly, in the construction of the Renault team, I think it is still interesting to get their [Red Bull's] benchmarking capacity.

"We know where we need to work based on what they are doing. They have showed that a Renault engine can win races in straight conditions, so that is a good sign of what we are doing, where we are progressing and where we need to progress."

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