Renault’s boss Cyril Abiteboul says that they are ready to be Redbull’s engine supplier if need be, but on the other hand he is not expecting to be the team’s ‘plan A’.

Both Redbull teams(Redbull Racing and AlphaTauri) are currently without an engine supplier from 2022 onwards after Honda made a shocking announcement last week that they will be leavin Formula 1 at the end of 2021. The situation currently is not very pleasant with the Redbull teams who have now to worry about finding an engine supplier that will supply power units that will help them to compete strongly as the Concorde Agreement will be seeking implementation from 2022, hence the start of a new regulation cycle.

The timeframe is too narrow to opt for an external engine manufacturer, if there is even any interested to jump in and assist the team. This means that the engine supply might be done by one of the manufacturer in Formula 1, and the most probable candidate is Renault. The two entities(Renault and Redbull) had a relationship previously that broke up back in 2018, but now according to Redbull’s situation there are signs from both sides that they are willing to forget the sour period and focus into the future.

The 2020 Redbull RB16, the power unit is supplied by Honda who will be leaving Formula 1 at the end of 2021

Redbull’s team boss, Christian Horner said, “We already have to start thinking about the incorporation of the engine into the 2022 cars. Really, by the end of this year we need that clarity, we need that clarification so we have to consider all options, all possibilities, and ultimately it will be Mr Mateschitz’s decision what he wants to do.”

“For us, it is important that we have the right power unit so that we can challenge Mercedes in the future years.” he added.

Christian Horner had strongly criticised Renault during the hybrid era, but recently developed a soft spot for the team when asked about Renault as he pointed out the new leader of Renault, Luca de Meo has made changes since he took over.

“Renault is different now to the Renault we left, with a new chairman, with the few changes he would bring moving forward,” Horner said.

Renault team principal, Cyril Abiteboul has said that they will step out and supply Redbull with power units if needed as they are aware of the Sporting Regulation that binds them to do so. Renault do not have any customer teams from 2021, so the FIA can force them to do so and the Renault boss said they would have no problem in fulfilling that.

“I can confirm there was absolutely no conversation to this point,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com. “Being in the sport we are well aware of the regulation, and we have every intent to comply with the regulation and with our obligations.”

“Obviously it’s a bit more detailed – we need to be requested, and we have not been requested yet, and secondly there are very specific circumstances, including timing, for this to happen. And we are still quite far from that window, which is not before the spring of next year. We know that in F1 lots of things can happen in a very limited amount of time, and spring 2021 is still very far. All sorts of things can happen. As I say we will comply with any obligation which may arise from this circumstance.”

The Renault boss was also asked on whether their reunion with Redbull would be awkward given their shared history that did not end quite well, he said, “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. I can’t imagine that Red Bull would not 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 that we will be their Plan A.”

Its very possible that Horner is currently working on the plan A, the reason he is rumoured to be in Austria this week is that he is securing a fund from Dietrich Mateschitz to turn Redbull to a power unit manufacturer and have its own rights, buying intellectual property from Honda to get started. The initial cost of all this would be offset in the medium term by the budget cap introduction next season.

Honda’s managing director Masashi Yamamoto confirmed that Honda are amenable to helping Red Bull out with a continuation plan.

“Honda is happy to talk to them if they need us in any way, not only about the power unit but about other things as well. To support AlphaTauri and Red Bull for their programme after 2021 in any way, we’re happy to cooperate.” Yamamoto said.

“As Honda we had so many things from the teams, so we want to give it back somehow in a nice way for the future.”

Asked specifically about whether Honda would help out with a continuation plan with their intellectual property to allow Red Bull to run rebadged engines from 2022, Yamamoto said: “If that kind of request is made from the team, I am ready to speak to Japan.”

“I personally want to support [what Red Bull and AlphaTauri do] as much as possible.”

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