Renault will enforce May deadline for Red Bull

Date published: May 5 2018

Renault will stick to the May 15th deadline for Red Bull to declare whether they will remain with the manufacturer or switch to Honda engines for 2019.

The FIA have set a deadline of May 15th for teams to confirm their engine suppliers for next year’s championship.

Red Bull, who last week began formal talks with Honda about a possible engine deal, have already said that they won’t make a firm decision until the summer break.

The team’s advisor Helmut Marko has stated that this will give Red Bull the opportunity to “analyse thoroughly” the upgrades that both Renault and Honda make with both expected to update their power units at June’s Canadian Grand Prix.

However, Renault are insisting that Red Bull stick to the May 15th deadline, adamant it is a different situation to McLaren’s late signing in 2018.

“We have to [stick to it],” Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul told ESPN. “We have to for a very simple reason, which is that we need to order parts.

“The problem is that people tend to amalgamate what happened last year when we changed very late our customers, but we only swapped customers.

“So actually we decided to allocate, to deviate, engines that were produced for Toro Rosso and to make them available for McLaren, but the parts for those engines were already ordered.

“I have to order now, the longest lead time items for next year, so what do I do: three or two?

“Frankly, I discussed that question with Red Bull on a regular basis.

“It’s not that we want to be awkward – there’s no tactics – but we simply must define the quantity.

“That’s why it’s in the sporting regulations, and what we discussed with the FIA regarding obligation of supply from suppliers to the customer teams, we agreed on the deadline of May simply because that’s the life of the project.

“Red Bull will have to cope with it.”

The Renault boss added that while Red Bull’s future engine supply is yet to be decided, McLaren are committed to Renault until 2020.

“It’s important to have one customer – I would not want to lose our two customers, really not, but that’s also one of the reasons why we’ve done what we have done with McLaren, which is to have a long term contract with them until 2020.

“We are already in discussions with McLaren with what could happen beyond that point because there is a general feelings that we can achieve great things together. But, frankly, it’s not a problem from moving from two customers to one customer.”