Re­nault de­bate fu­ture in­volve­ment in F1

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

En­gine man­u­fac­turer reviews op­tions at board meet­ing after an un­com­pet­i­tive 2014 sea­son

As F1 Rac­ing went to press, Re­nault had ar­ranged a spe­cial meet­ing in which their company direc­tors were to dis­cuss their fu­ture F1 in­volve­ment. Op­tions con­sid­ered in­cluded pulling out of F1 al­to­gether at one ex­treme, to buy­ing back the Lo­tus fac­tory at En­stone to run their own works team again at the other.

A com­plete with­drawal is thought to be highly un­likely, but the on­go­ing is­sue of costs in F1, Re­nault’s lack of com­pet­i­tive­ness com­pared to that of Mercedes, and the un­cer­tainty over the en­gine rules will have pro­vided an un­com­fort­able back­drop to the meet­ing.

Re­nault-pow­ered Red Bull have been cam­paign­ing in re­cent weeks for a change in the cur­rent en­gine for­mula, but it is not clear what team prin­ci­pal Christian Horner is hop­ing to achieve. He has var­i­ously pro­posed a re­ver­sion to the nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 en­gines F1 aban­doned at the end of 2013, or what he claims would be a cheaper hy­brid twin-turbo en­gine, with frozen or stan­dard en­ergy re­cov­ery sys­tems.

Ri­vals have ques­tioned his think­ing – point­ing out that Re­nault had backed the cur­rent en­gine for­mula and that both they and Mercedes would quit if F1 re­turned to the out­dated V8s. They are also at pains to stress that a new en­gine de­sign would in­evitably in­crease costs.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Re­nault and Mercedes agree at board level on their de­sire for the cur­rent en­gine for­mula to re­main in F1.

“Where Re­nault and Mercedes are 100 per cent aligned is that the cur­rent V6 tech­nol­ogy is state of the art, road-rel­e­vant and it is the fu­ture,” said Wolff. “So on a mo­tor­sport level, be­tween Re­nault Sport and Mercedes mo­tor­sport, we are fully agreed and have full align­ment on that.

“This is clearly where we are. Re­nault were very vo­cal in in­tro­duc­ing th­ese en­gines as a con­di­tion of stay­ing in For­mula 1 and this is where we are to­day. So all the other things that are be­ing dis­cussed are just funny.

“We all agree de­vel­op­ment of the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine and hy­brid sys­tem will re­main part of the rules. If we want to adapt the en­gine reg­u­la­tions, we will dis­cuss that. It’s nice to hear the views of in­di­vid­ual teams as part of that dis­cus­sion but they do not re­flect the views of the man­u­fac­tur­ers.”

Horner, mean­while, in­sists that the cur­rent en­gine rules – with no in-sea­son de­vel­op­ment and a com­plex set of rules defin­ing how much en­gines can be changed from one sea­son to the next – do not al­low Re­nault and Fer­rari enough fa­cil­ity to catch up with Mercedes.

“Leave it as is, and you’ll prob­a­bly drive Re­nault and one or two oth­ers away,” Horner said. “So, you have to do what is right for the sport rather than what is right for an in­di­vid­ual man­u­fac­turer.”

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