Renault have made no secret about their desire to increase their presence in Formula 1 from engine supplier to possibly team owner once again, but talks with Toro Rosso are on hold whilst they sort out their reliability struggles.
It was reported earlier this season that Renault wanted a greater return on its involvement in terms of marketing power, leading to Renault Sport boss Cyril Abiteboul hinting at team ownership or at least title sponsorship once again.
With Red Bull courting Audi, Toro Rosso were identified as Renault’s likely target, but talks are yet to commence as the French manufacturer’s focus is elsewhere according to team principal Franz Tost.
“Renault wanted to present their brand more – that was the starting point,” he told the official Formula 1 website. “A yellow/white car with big Renault letters! No problem – they can do this with Toro Rosso.
“But at the moment Cyril [Abiteboul] said that their main problem is currently to sort out their reliability problems and not painting a car.”
Tost is however confident that once they’ve resolved their internal problems, talks can begin, as he believes Toro Rosso has a lot to offer a manufacturer.
“Before that is sorted out they will not think in the direction of either taking over a team or branding a team. That can change in the next couple of weeks and months,” he stated.
“Toro Rosso have a lot to offer a manufacturer,” he added. “We have a proper infrastructure, we have a good technical team, and we have a lean structure.
“We want to finish in P5, and the next step would be to work together with a manufacturer or to become a manufacturer team – to become a real front-runner. There is no timeline on that – when [it happens’, Red Bull and Renault decide.”