Renault’s future in Formula 1 will become clear toward the end of the 2015 season according to Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul.
The French manufacturer and engine supplier to Red Bull and Toro Rosso is currently weighing up its future, with three options on the table: to remain an engine supplier, increase its involvement, or quit the sport completely.
At present, it isn’t clear which path is the preferred one, only that the company doesn’t feel it is getting the recognition and therefore the marketing return it deserves, particularly for its part in powering Red Bull to four constructors’ championships.
One option could see Renault take an ownership stake in an outfit, with Toro Rosso, Lotus and Manor all mentioned as possible suspects for a takeover.
Abiteboul insists their immediate focus is on getting on par with Mercedes and therefore continuing as they are, but a decision will be made this year about their long-term plans.
“I would imagine at some point later in 2015 they [Red Bull] will want to know what is going on in 2017 [when our contract ends],” Abiteboul told Autosport.
“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.
“That will give us the best chance of quick success for the joint organisation, but in parallel we also work on the future.
“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.”