Renault: No intention to sell the F1 engine department

Renault Sport F1 headquarters in Viry

Renault Sport F1 headquarters in Viry

Formula 1 engine supplier Renault have denied that they are being bought out by disgruntled partner Red Bull, in the wake of a torrid season for the combination which only six months ago were celebrating four consecutive world titles.

Team boss Christian Horner is back on the offensive this week, insisting that the French marque even had years of warning about its now-struggling turbo V6 project.

“We sat down with Renault to express our concerns about the direction it was going in autumn 2012,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

There have been suggestions Red Bull’s patience has finally run out, but the lack of alternatives – with Formula 1’s only other engine suppliers being arch-rivals Mercedes and Ferrari – is obvious.

“The thing about a team like Red Bull is we always have options, and I’m not going to disclose what they are here,” Horner insisted.

Renault and Red Bull enjoyed four very successful years

Renault and Red Bull enjoyed four very successful years

Evidently, one of Red Bull’s few options is to build its own engine, but the team has played down that likelihood. But what about simply getting more involved at Renault? There have been reports the Formula 1 facility at Viry-Chattilon could be sold.

Renault Formula 1 chief Rob White denied the speculation to Auto Motor und Sport, “At the moment there is no intention to sell the engine department at Viry. It’s still very much a subsidiary of Renault.”

And he said Red Bull taking over Renault would not allow the reigning world champions to simply re-badge the current power unit and dodge the restrictive homologation – or development ‘freeze’ – that is holding back progress.

“It is not possible to stick another name on the cylinder head and start from scratch. Even Honda can’t do exactly as they want,” White explained.

Sport Bild claims that, rather than buying Viry, Red Bull will simply get more involved with Renault’s engine project, upping its budget and forcing a restructuring. To this end, it is believed current Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul is returning to Renault to lead the revamp.

It was evident during preseason testing that Renault and Red Bull had serious problems

It was evident during preseason testing that Renault and Red Bull had serious problems

The focus, it seems, is to follow Mercedes’ lead in specifically adapting the engine to a single, works chassis, rather than trying to make it work for every customer.

“You are never going to be able to satisfy everybody,” Horner said on Tuesday. “Renault has tried to keep all of their customers happy, which is an admirable thing to do, but it’s not the best way to be competitive.”

With that change looming at Renault, it is no surprise that currently Renault-powered Lotus are on the move.

The changes could mean that every 2015 Renault customer has close links to the ‘works’ team Red Bull – sister team Toro Rosso, and users of the entire Red Bull rear end, Caterham. (GMM)