Renault takeover ‘exactly what Toro Rosso needs’

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says he would welcome a rumoured takeover of the team by Renault.

The French engine manufacturer ran its own Formula One team between 1977 and 1985 and again between 2002 and 2009. Since then it was remained active in F1 as an engine supplier and enjoyed multiple championship successes with Red Bull, but it is now being tipped to return as a full constructor.

Toro Rosso, who became Renault engine customers last year, have been rumoured as a potential route back for Renault, and Tost says he would welcome the move.

“I think this would be a fantastic opportunity for Toro Rosso to make the next step forward,” he said during a press conference today.

“The team wants to be established in the future within the first five in the constructors’ championship and to be part of a manufacturer – to work together with a manufacturer, to be owned by a manufacturer – would be exactly this step forward which the team needs to be established in the first five”.

However Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul said their first concern was to rectify the problems with their current engine before taking on a car project as well.

“I think the first priority is to get the engine right,” said Abiteboul. “We’ve seen in Melbourne that it was not really the start of season we were expecting both on-track and off-track. So before starting really to think about doing a car I think we need to get the engine under control. So that’s the priority for the time being”.

Abiteboul added that while Renault might increase its involvement in F1, it had also not ruled out scaling back its commitment.

“We’ll have to review the situation from a marketing, from a strategy perspective and see if there is anything better to do that what we’re doing currently,” he said, “from more of Formula One to less of Formula One”.

“But for the time being we’ll focus on what we’re doing”.

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    27 comments on “Renault takeover ‘exactly what Toro Rosso needs’”

    1. In other words, Mateschitz and Redbull are most likely divesting or winding down F1 team operations.

      1. Or they would love Renault to take over the team and run it with their young drivers so that Mateschitz can save some money and just sponsor the team.

        I see it as negotiations ongoing. Might be behind some of the overheated media statements recently and suddenly backing down again too. Its clear that Renault is doing so by also saying they are not yet sure and might still quit altogether.

        1. Yes. I had in mind that they may continue to be involved in F1 possibly as a sponsor to a team(s) or as an FOM sponsor.

          So they may retain the mother team “Redbull” until a good offer comes and then they will unload team ownership business completely.

          Maybe I should have written “winding down team (ownership) operations” instead.

        2. pastaman (@)
          27th March 2015, 14:45

          You don’t need young drivers if you don’t have a team to graduate them to! Who will supply RB??

        3. @bascb and I would love to see renault back too!

    2. Renaults Are New
      27th March 2015, 10:34

      This is close to what I was thinking a couple of nights ago as the news came through about Abiteboul’s bombastic attack on Red Bull big wigs.

      I’m not so sure it’s mutually orchestrated as a false flag, if you will, rather that Renault may see this whole episode as a method of devaluing the teams’ stock, both literally and spiritually, and then taking over a team as its morale, score-rate and interest are at their lowest.

      If I’m right, a fully-fledged eponymous Renault Team would burst onto the scene with a package that is replete with a competitive engine and shock the grid.

      1. re: “Abiteboul’s bombastic attack” – if you read the original interview (in French) the tone is much lighter and more playful than it seems in the English translation. Abiteboul is very generous to Newey, before accusing him of being too old to adapt and too quick to inaccurately complain about the engine problems. It didn’t seem to me to be the aggressive trashing that it has been reported as in the English speaking world.

    3. I think it would be a pretty universally positive move. Good for Red Bull, good for Toro Rosso, good for F1 in general. I’d love to see Renault back on the grid – if purely because we might see a new, unusual colour – yellow!

      1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
        27th March 2015, 10:48

        That yellow 2010 Renault is one of my all-time favourite F1 cars.

        1. It was brilliant!

          1. Absolutely fantastic, and distinct as it gets!

      2. Yel…low? Is that a shade of grey?

        1. @jackysteeg Yellow is the 51st shade of grey

    4. It would make the history of F1 much easier to understand: in 1985, the team now known as Renault would have raced against Renault, Lotus-Renault and the current Lotus team (previously Renault).

      And would “Renault”‘s record include all the races won by Prost and Arnoux, plus Alonso’s world championships? Or just Vettel’s first win? or nothing at all?

      1. Vettel’s first win was in a Ferrari engine.

      2. I would assume that Renault would have the records from 1977-1985 and from 2002-2011, in the same way that Mercedes has the results of the Mercedes from 1954-1955.

    5. For 2017; Red Bull Honda and Renault buys STR.

      1. @xtwl or Red Bull Audi?

        1. @spoutnik I can’t tell you how much people already said Audi is never going to enter F1 if they continue in WEC. It’s one or the other not both.

      2. Paul (@frankjaeger)
        27th March 2015, 19:00

        @xtwl Seems to me Honda giving RB an engine contract would go against everything Ron Dennis has said in the past year. With RB known for its aero development capabilities, it would be a annoying thorn in McLaren’s side.

        Audi seems much more plausible if they were to enter

      3. @xtwl I think McLaren has signed an exclusive deal with Honda, so I am pretty certain that there would be no Red Bull-Honda.

        1. @craig-o I think somewhere in this weeks round ups there has been an article about Honda thinking about the idea of a second team if it was asked to deliver engines. None did but what isn’t right now can always come for 2017.

          @frankjaeger I also think McLaren would not be happy. But again, Audi has no plans for a F1 entry any time soon so I don’t even understand where this rumour keeps coming from…

      4. @xtwl RBR Honda’s not going to happen. RBR are not going to want to be just a customer (and no, that’s not what their status with Viry is).

    6. I think it would be good news for F1 to have another full manufacturer in the sport. Amazingly, they ran their own team as recently as 2011, so if they buy STR for 2016, that would surely be one of the quickest ever returns for a manufacturer.

      Of course it’s early days, but if they do return I can see Red Bull possibly loaning them one driver, and the obvious candidate for the other seat would be Grosjean (who, as most here know, drove for Renault with his current team in 2009!).

    7. man i hope this happens. and that they use the minardi name. that would be great… minardi renault…

    8. The idea could be something along these lines – Renault purchases STR sometime this season, however the Toro Rosso moniker should remain for ’16 whilst Renault aggressively develops a competitive package for the ostensible ’17 regulation changes, when the re-badging as ‘Renault’ takes effect.

      This happened when Renault acquired Benetton in early 2000, yet didn’t race under their name until ’02 when the package was considerably more competitive.

      Alonso could yet conclude his career in a Renault…

      1. I should add, with immediately increased ‘Renault’ presence across the car – that would surely be the primary purpose for any desired return to constructor status in light of their diminished presence on the Red Bulls.

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