Date: 9th June 2015 at 9:04am
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After 2016 Formula One could be without Renault.

The French manufacturer who have numerous Formula One titles to their name could walk away from the sport following the conclusion of next season.

Renault have won both the drivers and constructors championships as an engine supplier for Williams, Benetton and Red Bull Racing in the past and have also won both titles twice as a manufacturer in their own right.

Overall they have powered 11 Formula One World Champions to the title and taken 12 constructors titles, with over 160 Grand Prix wins making them one of the most successful engine suppliers in the history of Formula One.

One of their most dominant periods was through the partnership with Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel, taking four drivers and constructors titles in successive seasons.

However, despite being heavily involved in the talks regarding the new engine regulations from their inception and playing a major role in the development of the new Formula One regulations, Renault were left behind in 2014.

Renault power won three Grand Prix with Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull Racing, but only once Mercedes had suffered problems.

In 2015 they are even further adrift much to the frustration of Red Bull Racing, who have fired numerous criticisms at their French partners.

This criticism has left Renault contemplating their future in Formula One over the past few months.

‘We are looking at a lot of options, including getting out of Formula 1 if it’s bad for Renault’s reputation,’ Managing Director of Renault Sport F1 Cyril Abiteboul said prior to the Malaysian Grand Prix.

And that is the point, just like when Formula One official tyre manufacturer Pirelli were getting criticised, for a global brand they have to wonder what positives there are from worldwide criticism?

So Renault want to be able to develop their engine and catch-up to rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.

But Formula One regulations look set to prohibit this.

Engine development following the 2014 season was supposed to be outlawed in a bid to lower costs, however Ferrari found a loophole in the regulations and a token system was introduced this year to allow some development during the season.

Ferrari have used this to great affect and have closed the gap to rivals Mercedes. But Renault have just fallen further behind.

Mercedes used 25 tokens during pre-season, whilst Ferrari used 22 and a further 3 prior to the Canadian Grand Prix.

Renault in comparison used 20 during pre-season and none so far during since the season commenced leaving them with 12 tokens for the remainder of 2015.

The FIA has since rewritten the 2016 regulations to close the loophole, which means that engine manufacturers Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda and Renault must submit all their performance improvements by 28th February 2016.

No alternations will be permitted unless there was unanimous agreement from all of the teams to change the rules.

As ever, self preservation in Formula One takes over, allowed Renault to become more competitive might be the best result for the good of the show, but why would Mercedes and Ferrari hand over a competitive advantage to a rival?

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has reiterated that if Renault cannot return to a competitive position, then from 2017 they could be absent from the sport.

‘The situation is we are at a precarious point in terms of Renault’s commitment to the future,’ he told Sky Sports.

‘If you are effectively shutting that down [the engine development] in February, you are almost waving goodbye to them.

‘So [Mercedes] need to have a bit of a grown-up think about it. And the FIA as well to say what is in the best interests of F1. If F1 can afford to lose an engine manufacturer, then stick to February 28.’

 

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