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F1 partner teams "not a good deal" currently, says Renault CEO

Renault’s CEO has downplayed the possibility of linking the Alpine Formula 1 squad to a partner team in the near future, saying it is currently “not a good deal”.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43B

Renault rebranded its works F1 team under the Alpine brand for 2021 as part of the ‘Renaulution’ within the company that was instigated by new CEO Luca de Meo following his takeover last summer.

But Renault is not currently supplying any other F1 teams with power units after its customer McLaren contract ended last year, with the British team switching to Mercedes for 2021.

By comparison, its three power unit rivals all have at least two customer teams to work with. Mercedes has McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams; Ferrari works with Haas and Alfa Romeo; and Honda powers Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, in the pits

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, in the pits

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Renault bosses have previously said that they are relaxed about the situation and, although they would be open to a partner team model in the future, it would have to be the right deal.

Speaking in a recent roundtable media call, Renault CEO de Meo acknowledged the benefits offered by partner teams, but questioned how beneficial the model was financially for the power unit supplier.

“Of course theoretically, it’s better when you have your engine used by others, because you can maybe exchange data, share some of the things,” de Meo told select outlets including Autosport.

“But the current conditions - and this I say it very clearly - especially economical conditions, of transfer of technology between one team and another, the ones that are defined by the federation - are actually not very favourable.

“So the price that other teams pay to access the technology of people like us that make the initial investment, it’s not a good business case, if you want my opinion.

“I said that already a lot of times. I don’t want to enter into numbers, but I can tell you that this is not a good deal.

“It’s only made so that smaller teams that don’t have the ability to produce an engine, and this is the large majority, can get into the game. But for us economically, it doesn’t change a lot.”

George Russell, Williams FW43B

George Russell, Williams FW43B

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Williams has been one team linked with Renault to form a potential B-team partnership in the future, but has made it clear it wants to maintain its independence in the long-term.

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Despite facing a reduced data set by only supplying power units to itself, Alpine boss Laurent Rossi said there were also significantly reduced risks involved should things go wrong.

“Providing a power unit to others, as Luca said, can be a benefit, because you can derive some extra data points to further solidify the reliability and performance of your power unit,” Rossi said.

“That said, the way it has been built up until recently makes it dangerously expensive, in fact, as soon as you enter troubles in terms of dealing and managing the performance of the other power units.

“If you have reliability issues on the track, then suddenly you have like a crisis, and you need to delegate a part of your team there.

“You have to have the structure for that, which is not what we decided, because it’s another team that sits around, do nothing, and get ready to do it to support the other team.

“So we’d rather have all of our team focused on designing our chassis and engine, and then we’ll figure it out if we have space, time, energy, for others.

“But, at the moment, we’re pretty happy doing it this way to be honest.”

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