Renault admits leaving F1 is a possibility

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says the French manufacturer is open to quitting Formula One, in a move that could leave the Red Bull team in trouble.

Renault admits leaving F1 is a possibility
Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing RB11
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 and Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10
Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10

Amid continued criticism of the Renault power unit, Abiteboul confirmed one of the options the manufacturer is considering is walking away from Formula One if it decides it is hurting its reputation.

"I can confirm that we are looking at a lot of options, including getting out of Formula One," said Abiteboul during a press conference on Friday.

"If Formula One is that bad for Renault's reputation, and if we see that we will continue to struggle with the current formula, if the sport is not delivering on the value that it costs Renault...

"We think we are a credible player in the sport but you need to think about what else we need to do on top of what we already are."

Horner's response to quit threat

Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner admitted that if its engine partner left the sport, Red Bull would be left in a very difficult situation that could even lead to it having to leave too.

"Should we find ourselves in a situation without an engine supplier should Renault chose to withdraw from Formula One, Mercedes would refuse to supply Red Bull with an engine, it's unlikely that we would be in a position to take a Ferrari engine so you could find yourself actually forced out of the sport," said Horner.

"Is Formula One delivering for Red Bull as a brand? There are some worrying signs when we see races like we saw in Melbourne but hopefully that's one chapter in a long story; there's a long season ahead of us."

Toro Rosso also an option

Another option Renault is considering is buying the Toro Rosso team to race under is own name, but Abiteboul said the main focus at the moment must be to sort out the engine.

"I think the first priority is to get the engine right," he added.

"We saw in Melbourne that it wasn't the start of the season that we expected, so before we star to think about doing a car I think we need to get the engine under control.

"Then if we can do that, we'll have to review the situation from the marketing and the strategy perspective."

'Fantastic opportunity' for Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said that being bought out by Renault would be the move that the Faenza-based squad needs in order to take the next step towards the front of the grid.

"I think this would be a fantastic opportunity for Toro Rosso to make the next step forward, because the team wants to be established in the top five in the constructors' championship," said Tost.

"And to be owned by a manufacturer would be exactly the step forward the team needs to be established in the top five."

 

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