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Renault ‘will leave F1 or run our own team’ – Ghosn

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In the round-up: Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn confirms there is no possibility of them continuing with Red Bull in 2016.

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Renault Energy F1 2015 power unitIs the true weakness of the current engine regulations the way they have shut independent manufacturers out?

The difference really is that while you certainly could spend a massive sum on a top notch power unit (excepting the fact that most top teams in those days had the backing to develop their own) there were also independent engine suppliers who could provide relatively good engines for a much lower cost. They weren’t as good as the top ones, but they were in the same ballpark and were a cheap (ish) way to go racing.

Now there are only four suppliers and all of their power units are frighteningly expensive. One is lousy and unreliable, one is a joke of an engine which you couldn’t pay people to use. That leaves just two suppliers of relatively competitive power units, and realistically one is far superior to the other.

So basically anyone who isn’t one of those two top teams is stuffed. They have to pay top whack for inferior, unreliable power units, with no hope of ever catching up, while one team dominates at the front.
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  • 63 comments on “Renault ‘will leave F1 or run our own team’ – Ghosn”

    1. Nico got the short end of the stick. Hamilton is leading the championship rapping about it and he’s doing the hugo boss event which is only interested in Lewis. I’m surprised they didn’t make Nico wear a Lewis helmet, I’m sure he was just covering for an absent Lewis. I’m probably wrong though. Man-up Nico!

      First round-up with the new design. Aesthetically It adds character, the @ feature is interesting but as I couldn’t find the actual @ I wanted it took me more time than before. I just wanted to say that the round-up doesn’t look too good on a low res of 1280×800 on chrome win10, the main page is ok, I get the balance you were aiming for.

      1. A German team with a German driver doing a promotional shoot for their German sponsor in Frankfurt, Germany.
        What`s wrong with that?

        1. Thats funny becouse Nico is about as German as the Team, only by name ; )

          1. I think that’s a bit of an overstatement. Nico is not German “only” by name and neither is Mercedes. This is not in their defense as they are not my sweethearts but I’m just curious as to why you would put it in those terms. Unless you meant that Mercedes is not German due to the fact that it employs people of different nationalities. Which is true but they represent a German team nonetheless. Mercedes is a German manufacturer and much of the money poored in is from them as well and some German sponsors as well. Nico is born to a German mother, in Germany and spent time there and raced under that flag since early in his career, as well as under the Finn one, I’m aware of that. So what if his parents lived in Monaco and took residency over there? Should Nico foresake any German heritage he has because of where his parents live? Anyway, I digress, I agree he is not 100% German by blood measure or that Mercedes does not employ and funds itself with 100% German resources, but nonetheless, there’s more to them than just a name.

            1. Mercedes is German but the team they own IMO isn’t.

              The team, in recent years, has been British followed by a short spell being Japanese and then back to British for a year and then German.

              McLaren were bought by people from the UAE but they appear to still be British? Why?

              Ferrari is Italy. It has always been Italian and will always be Italian. If someone bought Ferrari, it would remain in Italy and would remain Italian.

              Where on earth are Lotus from!? Are they British at the moment or French?

          2. @ Gabbe
            That’s funny, because his name is originally Swedish.
            Also, I’m as tired of reading that Rosberg is not a “true” German as of Hamilton-Senna comparisons.
            Yes, he has an international background, having a Sweden-born finnish father, a german mother, growing up in Monaco, speaking German, English, French and Italian fluently, racing under finnish licence in his early career …
            Still, that doesn’t mean a thing. He has a german parent, has been a citizen of Germany since the day of his birth, grew up learning German as his mother tongue (despite being a polyglot, that’s still the only language in which he doesn’t have an accent) – it doesn’t get much more german than that, at least not if one doesn’t subscribe to blood and soil ideology.

            1. Nase, I suppose it depends on how you look at it – although he does emphasise his German heritage more frequently, Nico is officially a Finnish-German dual national. As this is a decision he would have had to consciously make under German law at the time (Nico would have had to request permission from the German government in order to retain his Finnish nationality, as Germany did not normally permit dual nationality), by definition he chose to define himself as being partially Finnish in order to retain that heritage.

              petebaldwin, with regards to your comment that “McLaren were bought by people from the UAE but they appear to still be British? Why?”, the answer is that Mumtalakat never owned a controlling share of the company – Mansour Ojjeh and Ron Dennis agreed a pact that ensured that they would always retain control of the company (and Ron Dennis intended to buy Mumtalakat out over the course of this year anyway).

          3. Tell me about it… Ze German engine from Brixworth and a Mercedes team from Brackley… As a kid a was surrounded by guys who had a sweet spot for British engineering skills. Their mantra was: If you want to build something good in wide production give it to Germans but if you want something to excel give it to Brits. Toyota tried to rebut that axiomatic claim and failed completely. It’s so good to be taught the truth from early age :-)

      2. Boss didn’t leave McLaren for Merc for Nico ;)

        1. Yes, as a German brand they moved to a German team.

    2. The biggest failure of the current engine regulations is the ban on development outside of the similarly stupid token system.
      One look at the rules, and you have to ask yourself, why would any manufacturer enter F1? Honda entered just one year later and were seriously screwed by the already tightening scope of development. Why should anyone enter in 2016 or 2017 for example?

      1. Honda were screwed? What F1 are you following? The team was screwed. The drivers are screwed. The fans are screwed. F1 changed the rules for Honda! They got a full extra engine and related components penalty free.

        Honda screwed themselves with arrogance and xenophobic staffing.

        1. I thought it was Renault that threatened to walk away from F1 if the new hybrid engines weren’t brought in? And now it seems they are on the verge of doing it anyway!

    3. If Renault felt that they weren’t getting enough credit during their championship-winning years, the appropriate time to bring that up would have been during those years. Bringing it up now just sounds like whining. This is a highly competitive sport, and you’re only as good as your last race.

      Red Bull has handled their relationship with Renault very badly, by throwing them under the bus at the outset of this season. But with their repeated whining on this point, Renault has also forfeited any sympathy I might have had for them.

      1. ColdFly F1 ( @coldfly ) (@)
        16th September 2015, 9:21

        Actually Gosh wasn’t whining, or even complaining. It was just as a statement of fact: “It is clear that if you provide engines you aren’t mentioned when you win and you are criticised when you have problems”.

        The only complaining he did was about Horner/RBR, and implied that they lacked ‘sportsmanship’. He said that “you should win and lose together”. I hardly call that whining; I think he’s spot on!

        @flatdarkmars, @jcost

        1. @coldfly

          He said that “you should win and lose together”.I hardly call that whining; I think he’s spot on!

          This is a multi-million dollars sport, not a Barney episode.

          1. @albert But F1 is a team sport and the adage for most teams is win together/lose together. After Vettel’s pit stop issue in Austria Arrivabene called for a post-mortem rather than begin finger pointing – win together/lose together. Same thing for Williams after the mixed rear tyres for Bottas, Rob Smeadley was apologetic to Valteri – win together/lose together.
            So far Red Bull management has complained mercilessly about the engines. The drivers have made negative comments and have spoken more about frustration. Where is the loyalty to the engine partner who helped power them to 4 world titles?

        2. Regarding Renault/redbull partnship redbull have been running down the Renault engine even in their championship winning years. Always complaining the engine was down on power and they needed more. Yes even when vettel was winning races by 20+ seconds.
          At the same time you had TR getting very near the top of the speed traps with the same engine. Just goes to show how much aero Adrian Newey was putting on the RBR cars. With fixed power output from the engines you can’t have the fastest car in a straight line and the best aero. This was proved when Webber and Vettel had issues and started lower down the grid (unable to make places), or from the pit lane with setup changes (and drove through the field).

          I don’t buy all the hype about the complaints, but I will agree this years Renault engine is not very good. Let’s hope they, and Honda, get their act together soon as the sport seems to be falling apart from every seam at the moment

      2. Actually if I remembered correctly Renault has moaned about this before, especially after Red Bull sigend that deal with Infiniti (brand of Nissan, alliance partner of Renault). I believe that is where the first cracks started to appear and they’ve only gotten bigger ever since.

      3. Agreed.

        Also this whole “we aren’t an engine supplier anymore” statement is further proof of that. They are in talks right now to stay with RBR and TR for 2016 so that they can run their own Renault works team, currently known as LOLtus F1 in 2017 since being Renault and having a Merc engine wouldn’t work for the French team. And unless the regs change, Renault are REQUIRED to supply engines to any team willing to pay for them.

        Reads like more whinging to me.

      4. Renault’s marketing people must take some of the blame – not even mentioning their championship winning success in any advertising for two years. They also chose not to pay for extra space on the Red Bull car in this time, all we saw was a feeble little ‘RENAULT’ in white hidden at the back of the airbox cover. And why allow Infiniti to plaster their name everywhere instead?

    4. Where does this leave Red Bull in the future? Anyone else think Red Bull are better off keeping Renault? Im starting to think that even though the relationship has looked rocky for a long time

      1. I agree that they would’ve been better off keeping Renault, but it’s been fairly clear all this year that the Red Bull/Renault supplier relationship had deteriorated to the point of irreparability. It was going to implode sooner or later, and it seems that it’s done it sooner.

        Red Bull’s only real option at this point is to be supplied by Ferrari, since it seems Mercedes have turned them down, and even if McLaren would allow Honda to supply them they likely wouldn’t want to exchange a currently subpar engine for a currently terrible one. A Ferrari engine could work out — I hope they do go that route and stay in the game, since it’d be unfortunate to lose the team — but it eliminates any possibility for them of being the only car with the best engine at some point unless they can talk a not-current engine supplier into supplying them, so it it’s not the best choice in the long game.

        Of course, if Renault ends up taking over the current Lotus team, that could end well for Renault — and would surely be interesting for us. So, all in all, this could work out well for F1 as a whole, if not necessarily for Red Bull.

      2. Anyone else think Red Bull are better off keeping Renault?

        I’m afraid that’s not an option anymore.

      3. There’s this idea about cosworth having an engine and RedBull developing it with Ilmore – don’t know the substance of it, but…

    5. The way Red Bull has treated Renault in public doesn’t deserve any prizes. However, the fact of the matter is there are only two teams right now still using Renault PUs, and nobody else is interested. Now, while Red Bull’s treatment of Renault is far from great, they do have a point. If Renault had a good engine, more teams would’ve been interested.

      And it’s big talk from Ghosn, we either quit or start our own team, but I don’t think they really made this choice on their own. Red Bull doesn’t want to continue, so that basically leaves them without customers. So the only choice they have is start their own team or quit.

      1. I totally agree with this.
        Red Bull hasn’t treated Renault all the well but on the same token,i can’t really blame them.
        Unbelievably,Renault has gone from bad to worse this year from last year.

        I would have liked to see Red Bull stick with Renault though as i am sure,given time,they would get their act together.
        Not only that Ferrari are unlikely to supply Red Bull with their A spec engine.

      2. I really doubt renault will buy lotus. The renault engine is just too weak for f1 and if renault by their own words wants to “do it correctly” then they really don’t have an engine to do it properly. At best with lotus they get a mid field team which at its best could do something like 5th place. Remember lotus already has the best engine and they are not exactly challenging the ferraris or williamses. Only good thing lotus has going for the is the merc engine. If rbr can’t build good enough car so that engine could win races then lotus or renault will have no chance at all ever.

        Best thing for renault is to get out and fix their engine if they want to come back. Staying in f1 will only harm their reputation.

        1. Sad truth. F1 will became Formula Mercedes-Ferrari in three years.

          1. Wouldn’t be the 1st time, For a lot of the 70s 90%+ of the grid were running the same Cosworth.

        2. I said this recently on another topic, and it is a piece of speculation on my part. But I’m wondering whether part of Renault’s strategy is to create a brand new power unit spec if they buy out Lotus. By shifting the engine development from Renault Sport F1 to the team itself (even if it is a change in organisational structure only) it may enable them to be seen as a ‘new’ PU manufacturer. Enabling them to throw their old PU in the bin and create a whole new one with a blank sheet of paper.

          Like I say, it’s speculation, but it would be interesting if that were the case. Obviously the problems that they have with resource at the moment are unlikely to be solved by buying out a team which is currently struggling for funding. Naturally for the Enstone team, it would be good news as they would get a much-needed cash injection, allowing them to hire better personnel and not live hand to mouth with very limited resource for development. That they would take a step forward seems beyond doubt, and I think having the team working in synergy with the development of the PU would mean some of the obstacles to success caused by the fractious relationship with RBR would no longer be a problem. But I don’t think that the failure of the Renault PU can be blamed on RBR, and as you rightly point out, it’s hard to imagine how they could do a significantly better job (even starting with a clean sheet) than they’re doing now. Certainly any hope of beating the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes would be a very distant goal for the future.

        3. You can’t ‘fix’ your engine when you’re out of the sport. They will need to be on the grid if they are going to improve.

          I think the Renault takeover of Lotus is inevitable if they wish to continue in the sport

        4. Lotus are Renault’s best option, they were looking in to buying Force India, who are doing better than Lotus yes but unfortunately for them they don’t have the amount of technological resources Lotus has. The reason they would want Lotus is because they have very up to date resources, only a few years old, whereas Force India do not have this. They have only recently moved to the 60% wind tunnel.
          The reason Lotus is not doing so well even though they have the best engine is what comes down to everything in this sport, money. They are living in this sport month by month by the sounds of it. An injection of money from Renault would not instantly change their fortunes but using Ferrari as an example, move people around, get some new guys in and you will see a vast improvement as they will know that Renault will pump money in to it and therefore add a lot of stability.

          Renault are seeking more money from F1 itself as they believe they have contributed to the sport over the years (i heard in the range of like 200million). If they could get that and pump it in to the team, im sure that engine would gain a big boost.

    6. I thought they’ve made their choice of taking over Enstone team already. Now we’ve been hit by this ambiguous statement. Reflecting on Dieter Rencken’s tweet it is obvious what’s the real problem. Absence of clear strategy! You can allow yourself to lose a battle or two but losing a war is always a sign that good strategy isn’t there or you’re unable to achieve its goals. Lack of determination to succeed obviously annoyed RBR beyond their patience could bear. They are probably, kind of reserved now, ’cause global economic situation is highly volatile. However, being little bit more straightforward about their intentions would be a much nicer treatment to the public and partners as well.

    7. How many teams can a manufacturer cover? Or that only means Ferrari will adopt Rb and toro rosso?

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        16th September 2015, 9:00

        Yeah well spotted. I think 4 teams total is the limit.

        We know Ferrari will supply HAAS and have a good relationship with Sauber, so it would seem Toro Rosso might have to try and keep that Renault power somehow if RB do switch to Ferrari.

        If would certainly make ‘Manor-Honda’ with Vandoorne and K-Mag seem more likely.

        Lets not forget though if Renault do come in as a works outfit, there will be a spare Mercedes engine deal out there for someone.

        1. I don’t think that the FIA and Bernie would want to lose a team purely due to being left without an engine because of the maximum number of teams an engine manufacturer can supply.

          Toro Rosso can not stay with Renault if Renault don want to supply any customers, so I expect Ferrari to be allowed to supply both Red Bull & Toro Rosso regardless of whether Manor switches to Mercedes or Honda or not.

      2. A huge problem arose when Ferrari revealed they cannot supply two more teams. Six is to much for them as they’ll be supplying HAAS as well next year. Here I see mr. Ghosn’s attempt to force Bernie to guarantee them prize money they want. Bernie cannot afford to loose two teams next year. I cannot believe they are going that far. For me that falls into definition of extortion. Very shameful indeed!

    8. Renault have essentially already left F1. They just haven’t taken their toys off the track yet. Their teams have an average of 3.1 points per car, per race between them. Compare that to 4.1 points per car, per race for Ferrari (even *after* accounting for their taking on board the two least-performing teams on the grid and especially after including Marussia’s zero points), and 7.8 points per car, per race for Mercedes. They are far and away the worst established engine manufacturer on the grid.

      Yes, Honda are doing even worse with a pathetic 0.7 points per car per car, per race, but that’s to be expected with a brand-new engine manufacturer entering a sport in which it has essentially zero relevant experience in the last decade or more, with a basically untested engine and in a brand-new partnership with a team that has not won a championship in close to two decades and which has been in gradual decline for at least the last 4-5 years if not longer.

      And yes, it’s predominantly the rules’ fault, but the fact of the matter is that where Ferrari made at least a modest step forwards this year, Renault have actually taken a big step backwards.

    9. @keithcollantine Is it no longer necessary to use the user name tag when replying to a post? Is a reply flagged as a notification automatically by pressing “reply”? Great new interface, my iPad mini thanks you. World class, my friend, truly…

      1. Hi CG if you get notified of this reply then notification is automatic, a possibility I did not consider. Let us know please.

        1. @hohum No notification, so I guess we need to keep using the username tags.

          1. Then there is a bit of an issue in that you can’t see both the normal username AND the @tag-name like you used to so for those whose name and tag are different (e.g. Iestyn Davies, @fastiesty), leaving them a reply notification isn’t straightforward

            1. yeah, but you can still hover over their username and see what their tag name is @fullcoursecaution. But I do get the feeling that its not working perfectly ye, because when I started typing yours there (just the f), it showed my ten names, but yours was not in it, and there is no way to scroll or get more names. Typing fu didn’t change the list

            2. Thanks for making me aware of that @fullcoursecaution.. I might have to check if people have mis-tagged me. @bascb is right in that hovering over the name brings up the tag in the url, but that might not be available in mobile, which is what this update was primarily designed to incorporate @keithcollantine? Ten scroll options.. friend list in alphabetical order?

    10. I wonder what the next Red Bull argument will be. Let’s assume they do go with a Ferrari engine – will they next be stamping their feet when they don’t have Shell fuel/lubricants? So they’re automatically 40bhp down, as well as not having access to the settings and source code (as referred to by Ron when talking about McLaren’s final year running Mercedes) to maximise the use of the PU?

      Maybe that’s why Ferrari and Shell announced their new long-term partnership at Monza – they’re already expecting to be powering Red Bull next season. The fuel/lubricants deal is for Ferrari only, and not its customers? I could only find reference to F1 and Ferrari’s GT entries in WEC in their announcement …

      I think Mercedes have it right avoiding the toxic Red Bull.

      1. I do believe both Sabuer and Manor are using the same Shell fuel as Ferrari is, maybe not the cutting edge devlopment stuff but pretty much the same fuel.

      2. @JC I agree – Red Bull is toxic and they should be avoided! All that will come out of bringing them onboard are distractions/PR nightmares and constant complaints for Toto Wolff and the team. Mercedes are winning, they should keep away from these relationships and stay 200 feet away from Horner – he’s a very capable manager but he’s also his own worst enemy!
        There’s a reason Vettel ran like the wind and at least he never treated Red Bull the way they treated Renault. He’s been grateful to Red Bull despite all the problems he had last season.
        If Mercedes needs any more reasons, then they are out of their minds:-) I’d be surprised if Ferrari gives Red Bull engines although they should just to keep Red Bull and Newey in check.

    11. I think Renault are just posturing with Bernie/CVC around the historic teams payment, it leaked at the last race that they wanted it in writing from Bernie before buying Lotus as he’s previously said that they’d be eligible for it.
      By going public with their plans to take over Lotus or quit the sport entirely they’re firmly putting the ball in Bernie/CVC’s court around finalising or meeting Renault’s financial requirement for the historic status and payment.

    12. Back in the day IndyCar looked like serious machines. Their today’s cars look like jokes.

    13. Looks like Horner has checkmated himself:-) He’s not going to receive a Lotus engine, he can’t get a Mercedes engine and I’m sure he’s welcome to have a Honda engine, at least from Honda.

      As for getting a Ferrari engine, the likelihood that the Red Bull will outpace a Ferrari with a Ferrari engine is 100% if you remove the leading 1, right?
      The way that Red Bull has treated Renault this season is pretty incredible. Last season they had 3 wins and there is no doubt that Renault may not have lived up to RB’s or their own expectations this year.
      The truth is that Red Bull has not been able to do much with the car as evidenced by the performance of the Toro Rossos and they are as much to blame as Renault but you never hear Horner or Marko accept responsibility for that.

    14. Sorry I meant Renault engine:-)

    15. On COTD, The independent engine manufacturer’s largely lost interest in F1 back in the 90s when V10’s became the standard & the cheap V8’s the independent’s traditionally supplied were so far off the pace that nobody wanted them & the teams that did have them never stood a chance of been competitive.

      Cosworth stuck around & became an independent supplier when Ford sold them but lets be honest there V8 really wasn’t that good, It didn’t have the power, Used more fuel & was less drivable than the rest & it wasn’t an engine teams were lining up to use.
      Its also worth remembering that even as an independent Cosworth did actually design a power unit to meet the new V6 turbo hybrid regulations, The only reason its not been used is because no team wanted it & without the backing of a team they never continued development of it. If a team went to them & asked for an engine supply they would do it.

      1. Good point about Cosworth – wonder if that’s still being developed and running on a bench somewhere. Whatever happened to PURE too?

        1. Well the Hondaengine is performing like an independent V6 hybrid, strange…

        2. I have been told by an active motorsport engineer that there was very little of actual substance to PURE, and that it was set up more in hope than in expectation by Pollock.

          As for the Cosworth unit, I would doubt that Cosworth have been developing it – they have been losing money hand over fist in recent years, to the point where I believe they are technically worthless (in the sense that their liabilities are so high that they outstrip the value of the company), and their losses have been accelerating in recent years after they lost out on a development contract with Jaguar Land Rover.

      2. I appreciate your sentiment but you clearly forgot Shumi’s first championship was using that very V8…

        He did of course get his hands on the Renault thereafter…

        1. True but at the time Ford were entered as a manufacturer & spent a fortune developing that engine.

          Also worth remembering that while the Zetec-R was a good engine it was still significantly under-powered compared to the V10/V12’s & thats why Benetton were so desperate to get the Renault for 1995 that Flavio Briatore brought the Ligier team just to get the Renault contract.

    16. Before this hybrid formula when Red bull won 4 titles, my perception and most likely the general perception as well was that the reason for those titles were because of the great Red Bull chassis and aero, not necessarily the engine. If anything it was generally believed that Mercedes had higher horsepower engine even back then! The only positive that I normally heard was that the Renault had better driveablity and power delivery curve.

      In essence it is right for Renault to feel that they did not get as much mileage out of the deal as much as Red Bull have. Coming to the past 2 years, Red Bull obviously threw Renault under the bus at every opportunity, not just Horner or other team leads but the drivers too! How many times have we heard Ricciardo talk of Reanult doing a poor job and how bad the engine is and how they never keep their promises etc etc..

      It wasn’t just Renault but also Ferrari that were caught with their pants down with this new engine formula. Now Renault did try very hard and have told multiple times that they are spending more than even Mercedes on the engine (not the car and engine) and I believe that. For whatever reason it has not worked.

      Maybe it is best that they build their own car and engine together, they might finally get it right. Unlike most of the opinion I have heard in this thread, i believe it is possible for engines to catch up, because of diminishing returns. Mercedes cannot develop the engine as fast as Renault can catch up because the regs are not changing. Now does that mean that Renault will be able to do a better job as a team owner? I don’t think so, however it will definitely give them more visibility. If they do win a race Renault will get the full credit and the Engine will get the credit. I still think they need to maintain their relationship with Red Bull but also build their own car for a few years. Maybe that is vital for them to develop their engine in the correct direction. I certainly hope they stick together because it is in both of their best interests.

    17. There is one depressing aspect that no one is really talking about. And that is the fact that potentially as many as 9 out of the 11 teams next season will be using Mercedes or Ferrari engines. Firstly, is either Mercedes or Ferrari willing to supply up to FIVE teams (including their own)? F1 desperately needs more engine suppliers, and while I like the current engine regs, I dislike the development structure. The development structure is pushing Renault and Honda out and turning F1 into a two-make engine formula. F1 needs to make it easier for engine manufacturers to join and then give them incentive to stay. Four engine suppliers is a solid number in the current environment, but the distribution of the teams across those suppliers is going to be horrendous next season.

      Hopefully Renault and Honda step up their game (or are brought back into the game) and decide to supply at least one extra team. That would help F1 a LOT.

    18. The best thing for F1 is for Renault to pull out altogether, F1 needs drastic change & things always get worse before they get better & it seems that the powers that be want to push F1 to destruction, then let them do it.

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