Renault hint that their engine deal with Red Bull will end this season
"We have been clear in saying 'don't count on us as a provider of engines'," says CEO Carlos Ghosn, who also questions Red Bull's sportsmanship
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 22/09/15 9:32am
Renault have given the strongest hint yet that their engine deal with Red Bull will be severed a year early, at the end of the current season.
Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said that the French manufacturer will either become a works outfit again or exit F1 altogether in 2016.
"We are analysing what to do," Ghosn told Autocar. "We have been clear in saying 'don't count on us as a provider of engines'. It is clear that if you provide engines, you aren't mentioned when you win and you are criticised when you have problems."
With the latter statement, Ghosn is clearly referring to Red Bull, with whom Renault won four successive constructors' and drivers' titles between 2010 and 2013. However, Red Bull have been particularly critical of Renault since F1's switch to hybrid power.
As things stand, the pair have a contract until the end of 2016, but reports have suggested the that team - exasperated by the poor performance and reliability of Renault's power unit - are trying to make an early exit.
It is widely believed that Red Bull will instead be powered by Ferrari in 2016, after Mercedes decided against supplying their rivals.
Ghosn admitted that the contract is being renegotiated. "Our future is the subject of detailed analysis and renegotiating. We will either exit or run our own team. We don't have a clear decision yet," he said.
Asked whether Red Bull's criticism was fair, Ghosn replied: "It is not a question of fair; it is a question of sportsmanship. A team should win and lose together.
"What has been said is a question of sportsmanship. Again I say, you should win and lose together."
Besides Red Bull, Renault would also have to break ties with Toro Rosso, who switched from Ferrari power ahead of the 2014 season.
They are looking at buying back the Lotus team, with whom they won back-to-back titles as a constructor in 2005-06.