This afternoon, it was announced that Renault’s days as an engine supplier in F1 are “over” with chairman Carlos Ghosn confirming they will “either exit or run their own team”.
After winning four consecutive titles with the Red Bull team, the relationship between the French manufacturer and the team have turned sour as Renault has been unable to produce quick and reliable power units.
Although the two parties have a contract until the end of 2016, Renault confirmed at the start of this season that they are considering their options, but it was initially expected that they would still fulfill their engine contracts with Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
However in an interview with the media this afternoon, Ghosn has all but confirmed the end of the Red Bull deal as his company will either become a works team, with Lotus rumoured to be the outfit they will takeover, or leave the sport completely. Ghosn stated the following:-
‘We said very clearly, it’s finished. We already alerted the Formula 1 authorities [saying] that ‘Don’t count on us as a provider of an engine. It’s over’. We will honour our contracts, no problem, but the occasion of Renault as a developer and supplier of engines stops.’
There have been rumours circulating in the paddock that Red Bull have been linked with an engine deal with Ferrari for 2016 after Mercedes made it clear that they are not interested in supplying the four-time Champions power units. But today has confirmed that the Red Bull-Renault relationship will come to an end.
Further on in his interview with the media this afternoon, Ghosn has confirmed that it is too early to say what the final outcome will be but believes that they will no longer be in partnership with each other. Ghosn added the following;-
‘I think we are today renegotiating the contracts, so it’s too early to say what’s going to be the conclusion of the contract.’
Overall, I think the announcement made by Ghosn today as confirmed what we all knew which was both Renault and Red Bull no longer in partnership with each other. Even though it is still not fully confirmed as of yet; I think it will be just a matter of time before an official announcement is made and Renault confirms what their future will be in the sport as will Red Bull.
And even though I understand why both parties are ending their relationship with each other, you’ve got to say that despite what has happened in the last year and a half; it has been a successful partnership that brought four consecutive Drivers and Constructors Championships which shows that when Renault and Red Bull have everything in place they can deliver just as well as anyone else.
However, with Renault still lagging behind their rivals Mercedes, Red Bull have decided to terminate their contract with them while Renault look to try and buyout the Lotus team in order to come back into the sport as a works team. So this begs the question; with Renault no longer supplying engines to the F1 grid, who will power Red Bull and Toro Rosso?
There have been rumours that Ferrari are willing to supply both teams after Mercedes’ board very recently denied that they would supply Red Bull or Toro Rosso with an engine but are in talks with the Manor F1 team instead. I fully expect an official announcement from Renault and Red Bull regarding their futures in the sport in the next few weeks but lastly, it is a real shame that both parties will no longer work together but they have left a legacy in the sport that speaks for itself and will aspire many teams on the grid to achieve as well.