Renault has written to the FIA confirming its willingness to continue supplying Red Bull with Formula 1 engines from 2017.
The four engine manufacturers – Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda – have until May 15 to confirm to the FIA they have supply contracts in place with customers.
Renault agreed to see out its present agreement with Red Bull through to the end of this season, despite a major fallout between the two parties last year. It resulted in a renegotiation of the deal, with the Renault name being removed from the engine, with Red Bull instead badging it as TAG Heuer.
But following an improved start to this season, Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed the Renault/Red Bull alliance is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Asked whether Renault had submitted a letter to the FIA stating it was happy to continue supplying Red Bull, Abiteboul told Autosport: “Yes.”
“As we have always said, the bridges were never burned with Red Bull. From an engine manufacturer perspective we are open for business, open for expanding our collaboration.
“Part of Mercedes’ success has been based on having a portfolio of partners, customers in the paddock. You cannot work in isolation. Red Bull is a very strong body in Formula 1, and we have all the reason in the world to continue working with them. It makes sense. If they are happy, the product is competitive, then we have no reason to stop working with them.”
A firm contract will be signed ahead of the next FIA deadline of June 1, providing Renault demonstrates its B-spec engine is as powerful as has been suggested.
The system is due to be given its debut during the in-season test at Barcelona next week ahead of its planned introduction at the Canadian Grand Prix in June.
“The test is very important, and the timing is good in all respects,” added Abiteboul. “You know what Red Bull expect. They want to see the product, to be competitive – even more competitive in the next few months. We have the capability to demonstrate that and show we are serious about that.
“I hope they realize we have always been serious, that we had a blip in our product development, but we have made a lot of changes to the structure and the way we are working. So I hope they feel, and are convinced, that we have the capacity to provide them with a competitive product.”
TORO ROSSO RETURN POSSIBLE
Abiteboul has also revealed it would be open to again supplying Toro Rosso, which changed from Renault power to year-old-spec Ferrari engines for 2016.
“They are with Ferrari, and I think they are happy with their product,” said Abiteboul. “If there is an interest on the Red Bull side to align from a technology perspective what is in the rear of the car, then I’m happy to look into that.
“It’s not a condition to offer sole collaboration with Red Bull Racing at this moment.”