Adrian Newey has expressed his fear that should the FIA not allow Renault to play catch-up on the power front after paying a heavy price for adhering more strictly to the engine freeze regulations than its direct rivals, it may well pull out of F1 – as he all-but confirmed that Red Bull Racing will extend its partnership with the French manufacturer into 2011.
Red Bull has been powered by Renault since 2007, but since midway through 2008, the Régie's
engine has fallen off the pace of the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari as the company has complied 'very strongly' wit the freeze on development, leaving it with a deficit of as much as 40bhp against competitors who have perhaps not played quite so strictly by the rules.
That has led to speculation that title protagonists RBR could go elsewhere, but the energy drinks-backed outfit's chief technical officer Newey suggests the relationship will continue into a fifth consecutive campaign next year, acknowledging that Renault 'always respond to our requests' – even if he wonders just how long the marque will remain in F1 without a level playing field.
“Where shall we go?” the Englishman mused in an interview with German publication Sport Bild
. “McLaren has stopped us from getting the Mercedes engine, so there's only Ferrari – but we ask ourselves, 'if we beat them, will we still have the same specification as the Ferrari team?'
“[The engine freeze] means we now have a gap to Ferrari and Mercedes, and if Renault are not allowed to keep up, I can well imagine them withdrawing as an engine-supplier.”