Re­nault con­sider new part­ner­ship as Red Bull ten­sions sim­mer

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

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 outt 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 difculty 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 difcult hav­ing “a part­ner who lies”, point­ing out that Newey has a long his­tory of be­ing dis­satised with all en­gine part­ners.

Re­nault’s frus­tra­tion with Red Bull is due to the fact that they have not re­ceived sufcient pub­lic­ity for win­ning four world ti­tle dou­bles with the team. This is down to the heavy brand­ing for Nis­san luxury brand Inniti 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.

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