Cyril Abiteboul says Red Bull’s meeting with new Renault CEO Luca de Meo was a “neutral” one with engine talks not on the table.
Red Bull is considering its options for 2022 after Honda announced that it would be withdrawing from Formula 1 at the end of next year’s championship.
While there is talk about Red Bull still being powered by Honda, taking over the Japanese manufacturer’s IP and running a rebadged engine, Red Bull is also said to be looking at what the sport’s other engine manufacturers have on offer.
Mercedes has already said no, Toto Wolff insisting that supplying four teams is enough with McLaren joining the fold next season, Ferrari and Renault have both stated that they are open to it.
Team boss Christian Horner and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko met with new Renault CEO Meo at the Eifel Grand Prix weekend, sparking rumours of a possible return to Renault power.
El nuevo CEO de Renault Luca de Meo se ha reunido con C. Horner y Dr. Marko en el hospitality de Red Bull. Incluyendo selfie…
— Albert Fabrega (@AlbertFabrega) October 11, 2020
Asked by the meeting, Horner admitted Red Bull is keeping its options open.
“As we don’t have an engine for 2022 at the moment,” he said, “I think it’s clear that we need to study every possible option.”
Abiteboul, though, downplayed the meeting.
He told de24news: “I’m sorry to say it was a neutral meeting.
“It was a way of getting to know each other. Because Luca de Meo, our CEO, joined Renault recently.
“So it was the first time that they really met. They only know their way around to get to know each other. Just like Luca de Meo meets a lot of people in the paddock.”
The Renault managing director recently told Autosport that he believes Renault and Red Bull can put yesteryear’s arguments aside and work together if need be.
He does, however, think Red Bull already has a plan in mind for its 2022 engines.
“I think so, but we need obviously to look at the sport. And I think we are still very far away from having to possibly cross that bridge,” he said.
“I can’t imagine Red Bull wouldn’t have some plan in the background. Clearly they must have been aware of this and Helmut and Christian are full of moves and solutions.
“I don’t expect we will be their Plan A!”