Renault F1 team confirms switch to BP/Castrol

Renault has confirmed it will be joining McLaren in switching fuel suppliers to BP/Castrol in 2017, following months of speculation about its plans for the season ahead.

Renault F1 team confirms switch to BP/Castrol
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16

Amid uncertainty at the end of the last year about previous partner Total's involvement in F1, Renault had been weighing up a switch to BP and Castrol for its fuel and lubricants.

McLaren is also expected to use the same products, but has not yet officially announced its intentions.

Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul believes the change of oil supplier could deliver a competitive advantage, because power will be important in 2017 thanks to the higher drag produced by cars.

"With the new aerodynamic regulations for the 2017 Formula 1 season, power sensitivity will increase," he said.

"Therefore fuels and lubricants will make an even greater difference to the overall performance of the car than they have since the new power unit regulations have been introduced in 2014.

"The teams at BP and Castrol are very excited by the challenges offered by Formula 1 and we are confident they will help us achieve our ambitions for our new car in 2017 and beyond."

Renault last worked with BP/Castrol during the 1997 season when Williams Renault won the drivers' and constructors' championship.

Internal benchmark

Renault's switch to BP/Castrol means that the French car manufacturer will be working with two fuel suppliers in 2017, because partner team Red Bull has teamed up with Exxon/Mobil.

Speaking to Motorsport.com late last year, Abiteboul said that having such a split approach could actually bring some benefit in promoting competition between the different companies.

"I always prefer simplicity because we have enough complexity to absorb, so it is better if it is only one," he said. "But there are a number of engine suppliers who have been very successful in the past with two homologations.

"I would say also having two creates diversity, creates competition, creates inspiration – just like having different customer teams, Red Bull is a great inspiration for Enstone and a benchmark.

"Benchmarking is not unnecessary in the sport – but it means something in terms of operations, in terms of ring fencing IP because we want to protect IP of everyone we are working with, and it is completely fair. It is an extra concern but not something that is not achievable."

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