The future of two of Formula 1's leading teams, Red Bull Racing and Renault, appeared to become a touch clearer today with suggestions that the former is now prepared to pledge its allegiance to the sport for 2010 – but that the latter is seemingly ready to walk away.
Rumours are swirling around the grand prix paddock that Red Bull energy drinks magnate Dietrich Mateschitz has followed the lead of fellow 'independent' outfits Williams and Force India in splitting with the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) by agreeing to sign up to next season unconditionally, with speculation that the Milton Keynes-based squad was one of three due to meet with FIA President Max Mosley today (Thursday). Commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has also dropped hints that Red Bull Racing and 'junior' concern Scuderia Toro Rosso have both joined Williams and FIF1 in committing until at least 2012.
The situation at RBR's engine-supplier Renault, by contrast, is anything but as certain, with the French manufacturer's CEO, Carlos Ghosn – a man far from enamoured with F1 – having declared during a parliamentary committee speech at the French National Assembly that as the key protagonists, the teams deserve a greater share of the financial pie from commercial and television income, controlled by Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone.
“We are the ones putting on the show, who bring in the technology, who bring in the engines, who hire the drivers,” the Brazilian is quoted as having said by the AFP
news agency, “and if we put on the show, the revenues of Formula 1 must come back to us.
“Today we pay to be in Formula 1; that is not normal. Intermediaries have made enough money out of this. We want to take back control of Formula 1.”
Meanwhile, it has simultaneously emerged that Renault Sport has sent out a letter to its suppliers advising them that the team may be set to quit F1 at the close of the current campaign, with the contents, as published by motorsport-total.com
, revealing: 'There is the possibility that we will no longer be in Formula 1 in 2010. The far-reaching changes to the technical and sporting regulations have the consequence that Renault Sport can no longer be certain of its future in Formula 1. It is possible that we will no longer participate in the Formula 1 World Championship in 2010.'
It has been mooted recently that in the event of an official pull-out, the Enstone-based outfit's managing director Flavio Briatore could spearhead a takeover – in much the same fashion as Ross Brawn did with the defunct Honda F1 operation over the winter months – though job losses would be likely in any scenario, adding to those recently announced at Brixworth-based Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Toyota F1 team principal Tadashi Yamashina has resolved to relocate from Cologne back to Japan and henceforth commute to all the grands prix.