Renault consider new partnership as Red Bull tensions simmer
As Red Bull let rip following their poor performance at the Australian GP, Renault weigh up their future options in F1
Renault are weighing up their options for their Formula 1 future as their relationship with works outt Red Bull heads towards breaking point.
The French manufacturer is considering various options, ranging from buying a team and rebranding it with the Renault name, to trying to nd a happier arrangement with Red Bull – or even pulling out of F1 altogether.
If they go down the route of buying a team, they have narrowed their options down to Toro Rosso or Force India, having ruled out Lotus or Sauber. Lotus seemed the most logical option – it used to be owned by Renault before it was sold to Genii Capital in 2009. But since then, Genii boss Gerard Lopez has loaded it with debt – in the form of shareholder loans to the team – as budget and ambition outstripped ability to raise funds. Sauber were rejected because of their high levels of debt and the difculty of running an F1 team under Switzerland’s labour laws.
The situation underlines the fractious and fragile nature of the relationship between Red Bull and Renault. The frustration in the partnership has been brewing for months, and it nally boiled over in the aftermath of the Australian GP. Renault’s poor showing at that race led Red Bull team boss Christian Horner to be highly critical of the company. However, it was remarks from technical boss Adrian Newey that most angered Renault.
Although the 2015 Red Bull is far from being the best car the team have produced – it was only fractionally quicker than a Toro Rosso in Melbourne and was beaten by both junior team drivers in Malaysia – Newey laid the entire blame for the lack of competitiveness at Renault’s door.
That prompted Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul to remark that it was difcult having “a partner who lies”, pointing out that Newey has a long history of being dissatised with all engine partners.
Renault’s frustration with Red Bull is due to the fact that they have not received sufcient publicity for winning four world title doubles with the team. This is down to the heavy branding for Nissan luxury brand Inniti on the Red Bull car. But Red Bull were pushed towards this deal by Renault themselves – they and Nissan are part of the same global automotive group.