Renault will decide direction of Formula 1 future by end of 2015

Renault will decide by the end of this year whether it will remain an engine supplier to Red Bull, again become a full works team, or withdraw from Formula 1 altogether

Renault will decide direction of Formula 1 future by end of 2015

The French firm's current contracts as power unit supplier to Red Bull and Toro Rosso expire at the end of 2016, with speculation rife over its direction thereafter.

Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul expects a late-2015 deadline will be demanded by Red Bull if the two parties are going to continue on in 2017.

"Red Bull wants the confidence we have the capacity to catch up, and on our side we need the certainty we can catch up," he told AUTOSPORT.

"We also need to have confidence in the value of the sport and in the value of this partnership. This is something that is built over time. There is no rush.

"But I would imagine they will want to know at some time what will be between the gearbox and fuel tank of its 2017 car.

"I know this is the type of organisation that starts drawing early.

"I would imagine at some point later in 2015 they will want to know what is going on in 2017."

Renault has been linked with buy-outs of Toro Rosso, Lotus and Manor, while Red Bull boss Christian Horner suspects it will leave F1 if engine rules do not change.

"Right now the best thing we can do for our own situation is to assume we will continue as we are, with us as an engine supplier and them as a customer of Renault," said Abiteboul.

"That will give us the best chance of quick success for the joint organisation, but in parallel we also work on the future.

"It may be a different future for them, a different future for us, but anyway there is no future if we don't have a competitive engine."

Abiteboul insists getting Renault on a par with the currently dominant Mercedes is affordable whatever route it takes.

"The question mark around our own team, or a different set-up with Red Bull Racing, is not one of resources, but will be if we are not capable of addressing the situation," added Abiteboul.

"The business case is completely different when you have your own team as it is capable of deriving some commercial income from sponsors, from FOM, from merchandising and so on.

"We've been a team in the past so we know very well what it costs, but also how you can structure it.

"And if you look at Mercedes, they are spending far less on its team operation than engine operation, so we already have the biggest element Mercedes has.

"We need to balance the extra benefit of being a team against the extra cost of being a team.

"Again, that's not something that is our focus because the first thing we want to produce is engines, but there is a business case for being a team."

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