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Rumours have been bounded about the future of Redbull racings engine supplier Renault as to whether or not they will continue in the sport at the end of the current campaign.
Since the switch to the current V6 Hybrid power units, Renault have failed to deliver a competitive power unit to rival that of the current champions Mercedes. This failure has lead to an all out war of words between both parties.
Following months of discussion about as to their plans in F1, it had been looking increasingly likely that Renault would edge towards buying its own outfit. Torro Rosso was mentioned as a possible option, but many believe Lotus to be the preferred choice.
Renault ambassador Alain Prost has however reiterated that the French manufacturer could still pull out of Formula one:
“Today, everything remains possible, For sure, we’re looking at all the solutions… although there are probably just two! Or three, if you consider leaving as an option.“
“But I don’t think it’s in Renault’s genes and interest [to leave]… There still is a history, a tradition. History is very important to Renault in motorsport, and it has always been a very innovative company. That’s the assessment of the situation, now they have to look at the best options in the coming weeks.”
If this were to happen, Formula one stands to lose one of the sport’s most successful and long standing engine manufacturer. Renault have participated in all but 5 seasons of F1 dating back to 1977.
But there maybe an olive branch for the embattled manufacturer as there are plans to change their status from an engine manufacturer to that of a ‘historic team’, should they decide to once again become a full works team. Ferrari are currently the only historic team within the sport. It has participated in every season of the Formula 1 world championship since its 1950.
This change in status brings with it significant financial incentives. If the proposed plans to purchase Lotus were to go ahead, this would see them join the other top five teams, Mercedes, Redbull, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams in receiving additional payments from Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM company, which distributes 65% of the revenues to the qualifying teams. 15% of that goes to the top 5 manufacturers in the form of premium payments for committing to stay within the sport until 2020 when the current concord agreement expires.
Bernie Ecclestone was recently asked whether or not the French manufacturer would be considered a historic team, he replied:
“Yes. If they take over Lotus and do exactly what Mercedes and Red Bull did, that would be it, so yeah, sure.
“They [Renault] have talked about perhaps taking over Lotus, so there is a way in for them, and we’d love to have them on board.”
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul has welcomed this news, though with a bit of skepticism:
“We know the sport well enough – we’ve been a part of it for 38 years – that without proper funding in place there is no story, no performance.
“One thing we need to be mindful of, and is part of the evaluation we are doing – which is a constant evaluation – is to make sure there is sufficient financial resources in place to satisfy the expectations at the top level.
“We have absolutely no intention of participating, like we are doing now, of making up the numbers on the grid. Given the legacy we have in the sport, any project of Renault in Formula 1, would have to be a top-performing one.”
“Any financial recognition of the value of Renault in Formula 1, not just as an engine supplier but more specifically as a team, is clearly going to assist. It’s not just money which is a crucial element in Formula 1, because there are always other issues to deal with, but certainly money is necessary. So this type of comment from Bernie is obviously a positive one.”
There are however still obstacles in the way of any such move, as a unanimous vote from all the teams will be required, which also includes both Redbull and Torro Rosso who receives their engines from Renault. Should this be achieved, Redbull and Torro Rosso could find themselves without an engine supplier and could possibly block any such move if they were not able to attract a new supplier before then.
Ecclestone, however, has suggested otherwise: “If they [Renault] do what they have to do to be in line with those people I don’t think we would need anybody to agree. I think we could deal with it easily enough.“
Would this also mean a permanent seat on the strategy group?
No chance then for Force India, Sauber etc on the board.
So therefore no pesky independents making decisions……
I don’t like it. F1 already sufferes enough from conflicts of fractured interests between competitors. Now sudenly there’s a new category. Would Ford be welcome as an historical partner? Does Honda get anything by virtue of dozens of titles and race wins and hundreds of starts?
Revenue distribution must be improved for all, not only the ‘haves’.
Why not? Both Ford and Renault returning to FL would be great for the sport. Young new teams added nothing just like in the 8th or 90s.
Another way to ensure, or justify, that the playing field is skewed and young teams are screwed.
Now is the time when recognition of the so-called historic teams be dismantled – Bernie is getting desperate and pandering. If Renault were to fail here and took themselves off, then so be it.
And on the matter of historic teams, specifically that red one, don’t forget they are undergoing a massive upheaval in their being by coming out from the protection of the FIAT empire. Take that stipend away. They’re not going anywhere, the advertising is too great.
Hell, Bernie should be creaming off the top of their annual payout. Surprised he’s not done it….
Speaking only for myself, there is a broad disconnect here. As a fan, I have little interest in ‘historic’ teams competing at non-historic venues. Ah, Bernie
Does this mean a) increasing the size of the pot of money given to historic teams (and therefore reduce money to the pot available to all teams for actual racing results – meaning Renault would be getting money at the cost of every team including Sauber, Force India, Manor etc) or is the suggestion b) that the total pot of money available to historic teams would not change (in which case Renault’s historic money would be given at the expense of the grouping of historic teams).
I would like to think the latter, but suspect the former.
Either way somebody has to give up money, and can’t see it being CVC.
You sir have hit the nail on its head. Given Bernie’s quip of it not being a problem if Renault meets the necessary requirements, is clearly not the case.
Surely Ferrari won’t be so willing to give up a percentage of the £100m they receive just for turning up so as to facilitate Renault joining the collective and neither will the other 4 teams, and why would they?
So the question now is, where will that extra money come from? Will payments to CVC be reduced? The smaller teams won’t be in favour of having what little crumbs they’re given be reduced to facilitate Renault’s position within the fold, they’re already struggling as it is. And there’s no way that the concord agreement will be ripped up either.
So where exactly will the money come from to make this ‘premium payment’?
If Renault do come in as a “Historic” I hope they take their historic, mainly yellow livery – there is too much black and grey on the grid nowadays.
This sudden charitable streak that MrE is showing has myself….worried. Reading between the lines and joining up the dots there seems to be another take on this. Given that Lotus appear to be in a little financial trouble and given that there was a real chance of Renault leaving the sport i think MrE was worried. Another team going to the wall and given Manors less than sterling performance coupled with Red bull and force India shaking their corporate heads at the sidelines i think F1 is in trouble. MrE appears to have only one option…Pay Renault to stay on board, the word bribe is a long way off but given how this so called sport works at times then this is not beyond Ken. Honda have more heritage than Renault so why not bring them into the fold?..this smells of a underhanded backroom deal to myself all covered over and painted in a different light. I might be an old cynic but as I age I can see how an old school used cars sales person works,dazzle and flatter the public while deal behind closed doors…MrE,your old tricks are starting to ware thin.
well put oddball.
of course, the only thing better than paying someone to do what you want is paying them with someone else’s money 🙂
He did not need to bribe Honda, and they are not a standalone team as Renault would be. Honda has partnered with McLaren who already are in the ‘Historic’ group.
The other aspect of bailing Renault out is that he now has them tucked in his pocket for future support just like he has done in the past with Williams, Jordan and probably others.
Agree with the ‘I scratch your back’ as I understand it’s how Jordan survived through some tough times. The more the dealings get aired the more MrE looks like the Don King of Motorsport. I think Ron put this into words beautifully when he welcomed a new team boss..’welcome to the piranha club’
“Ferrari are currently the only historic team within the sport.” Hmm, a matter of definition perhaps, but I think the guys at McLaren might take issue with that – they’ve been competing without a break since 1963. Williams – with a single year hiatus in 1976 when they were majority owned by Walter Wolff – has been in F1 since 1969.
I can’t see how, simply by buying Lotus, Renault could become ‘historic’ if the likes of McLaren and Williams are not included.
The respective article at planet F1 clarifies that “The total amount received by each team is based on their historical contribution to the sport.” So in a way, they’re all historic and based on how much time they’ve been in F1, they receive the respective amount of money. The extra extra money that Ferrari get, noone will ever get, they also have an extra historic status 😉
Bombino, this is only for an extra slice of the pie – super size me.
In fact the teams getting the historic payout are five teams. For 2014
Surprisingly enough it was these five teams which negotiated this 15% in 2012. It’s like members of government voting themselves double digit pay raises while everyone else is getting laid-off or having their pay cut.
Not sure about Red Bull as a historical team though (not 74 million worth anyway) – maybe the term was a typo – in their case hysterical team perhaps?
Redbull does not fall under the category of ‘historic team’. They are only in receipt of the premium payment due to the separate deal they signed with Bernie.
hardly sporting is it? oh well, at least there’s 74 million reasons to smile if red bull ever carry through their threat to quit…i’d presume audi would not qualify for the 74 m should they buy out the bulls then? Or would this be simply transferable with the teams licence, making them quite the attractive purchase?
Probably would be carried over ‘with the franchise’, although lets see if Audi would want to claim their historic involvement from the 30s as Auto Union 😛
The government are giving themselves a massive pay rise while slashing money for everyone else.
Were all in it together tho.
Can someone set me straight?
I have a feeling the ‘historic’ Williams only came to light when Frank shafted Adam Parr at Bernie’s behest…..?
Cynically, I suspect this is being done as Renault won’t want to inherit the debt from the Lotus F1 team, this will make the deal look a lot more tempting.
While I will never agree with the historic status payments that the “senior” teams get, in some small respect I do at least understand it (just)… however what makes it all laughable in my head at least, is Red Bull’s inclusion on the list.
Yes ok, they had a few good seasons, but really, compared to the 40+ years AND multiple crowns of the likes of Williams, Ferrari and McLaren?
My comment got lost in the websphere, but notice how this ties in with budget spend (the 6 teams that spend over £100m) and titles won (6 big winners, with the bottom 4 teams sharing only 4 GP wins).
RBR could even claim F1 involvement in the 80s (sponsoring Berger) and 70s (Marko driving) if they really wanted to stretch the time in F1 excuse to preceding the small 4.
Edit: Hadn’t written it yet. What we really need is for when there are new owners/post-Bernie for this to be made a second ‘equal’ payment, for committing to F1 long term, giving a few more % of the revenue to the small teams to even up the playing field.
Lotus are Mercedes powered, with a contract that lasts for a number of years, I imagine. The extra money for Renault will help them pay compensation to Mercedes, if they buy Lotus. 🙂
“Lotus are Mercedes powered, with a contract that lasts for a number of years, I imagine. The extra money for Renault will help them pay compensation to Mercedes, if they buy Lotus.”
it would also open up a Mercedes power unit for another team. I doubt it would be Red Bull though with the issues between Mercedes and Red Bull and Red Bull’s desire not to be a customer team.
I honestly think that Renault buys the Lotus team and breaks their contract with Red Bull leaving them without an engine supplier. I think that they will do this at the last minute as payback to Red Bull for all of the brand damage Renault has suffered as a result of Red Bull’s complaining about the power and its reliability and performance issues. I think that being a works team will allow them to commit the resources necessary to develop the power unit so that it can finally be competitive in Formula 1 without having to put up with Red Bull’s complaining.
If Red Bull don’t want to be a customer team, hopefully they can find a manufacturer to partner with who can meet their high standards/expectations.