Red Bull and Renault rivals respond to bitter F1 doco
RED Bull boss Christian Horner and Renault rival Cyril Abiteboul have attempted to downplay the sensational vision of the pair at each other's throats as shown in the Netflix documentary released last week.
The documentary portrays the two team bosses as bitter rivals on the brink of outright war, but Abiteboul says a lot of the documentary's content is not accurate.
The popular series F1: Drive to Survive shows the pair in the middle of a public squabble over Renault's pinching of Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull's decision to reject a Renault-supplied engine for 2019.
However, on Friday the pair attempted to discredit the vision shown to fans.
Cameras first captured the incredibly awkward moment the two team bosses came face-to-face during the 2018 season after Red Bull announced its plans to leave Renault as its engine supplier for rival Honda.
Horner regularly publicly criticised the power and reliability of Renault engines during the season and reiterated in the documentary that "with that engine supply we were paying to fly first class, but ended up with an economy ticket".
Bumping into each other as they wait to walk into a teams briefing, the pair are seen refusing to acknowledge each other's presence despite standing just a couple feet from each other with nobody else around.
After more than 10 seconds of awkward silence, Horner eventually breaks the tension by asking Abiteboul if his Renault factory executives are at the track for that race - on the day the team suffered the black eye of Red Bull's decision to leave.
Abiteboul, however, got his revenge a couple months later when he was able to snatch Ricciardo away from Red Bull.
The two rival bosses were again filmed trading some barbs before a meeting the day after Ricciardo's contract bombshell.
With a cheeky grin on his face, Abiteboul was filmed telling Horner: "You need a driver and an engine."
With a displeased expression on his face, Horner responds: "Yup. Have you got any money to spend on your engine now that you've spent it all on your driver?"
Abiteboul responds by saying: "We have plenty of money."
On Friday, Abiteboul said the documentary did not accurately reflect their relationship.
"Did I like everything that I saw in it? No," Abiteboul said with Horner alongside him in Friday's press conference at the Australian Grand Prix.
"I think it's important to have some form of disclaimer that it's a bit of fiction also.
"It's important given what's at stake with brand reputation we don't confuse what is information and entertainment."
Mercedes chose not to be involved in the documentary at all so team boss Toto Wolff took the opportunity to make light at the situation during Friday's press conference.
"I though Cyril and Christian were actually friends!" he said.
"There is a lot of fiction… people say Guenther Steiner (the Haas team principal) is a decent guy… he benefited from the series. It's a good promotion for Formula 1, it's well done."
Horber joked that in season two of the series, Abiteboul might end up in a fight with Wolff.
"I'm really looking forward to season two, I think there might be a fight," Horner said.
"I think it was an interesting project and it shows a glimpse behind the scenes of Formula One.
"It's had huge interest from what I understand because it was not just about what's going on on track. It's reaching a new market which is important, particularly in the US as well. It's a different side of Formula One but is certainly interesting."