By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Cyril Abiteboul, the managing director of Renault Formula One Team, confirmed at Friday’s FIA press conference that the French manufacturer has talked with McLaren about a potential engine supply deal for the 2018 season.
Renault, which currently supplies for its factory team and both Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, appears to be McLaren’s last hope for a different power unit should it elect to terminate their relationship with Honda.
For McLaren, the frustrations have grown as their three-year relationship with the Japanese manufacturer has failed to improve over a lack of power and reliability.
Despite already fielding engines for three teams, Abiteboul is still keen to discuss the possibilities of adding another for 2018.
“Well, the situation is that we have multi-year contracts with Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, so frankly we are open to discussions,” said Abiteboul.
“I can confirm that there has been discussion with McLaren. But as you mentioned at the end, right now there is a restriction in the regulation, if we wanted to supply more than three teams first. And in addition to that, I don’t think it would be reasonable to believe that we could supply more than three without degrading the level of service, the quality of the service for the other teams, so we’ve had discussions.
“Frankly, again, we have contracts in place. We value the relationship with Red Bull. It’s a longstanding relationship and we would like to carry this relationship until its term in 2020, but if there is something to be done, why not, but right now understand that things are very quiet and certainly we are not necessarily proactively pushing for anything.”