Renault Sport says it hopes to conclude its engine agreements for the 2014 season in the coming weeks following confirmation of a deal with Toro Rosso and Red Bull for next year.
Renault confirmed on Sunday in Monaco that the deal it has in place with the Red Bull senior team has been extended while an agreement has also been reached that will see Toro Rosso switch from Ferrari for next year.
Although speculation suggests that Williams could be set to move to Mercedes, both Lotus and Caterham have still to officially confirm their plans for next year, with president of Renault Sport F1 Jean-Michel Jalinier insisting that discussions with the various teams was currently ongoing.
“We have now confirmed the partnership with Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso for 2014 and beyond and are actively negotiating with our current partners, but this agreement will obviously shape our plans for 2014,” he said. “While negotiations are ongoing we cannot speculate or expand on the status of each team's contracts, but we hope to confirm activities in the coming weeks.
“We have stated that we would be comfortable with three teams and five if there was a gap in the market, but this upper bracket is not our ideal case scenario.”
Jalinier added that confirming deals early could be a key factor in securing success on-track in 2014.
“I would say it's one of the key success factors,” he said. “The fastest car next year will not necessarily be the most powerful or the most aerodynamically advanced, it will be the one where the engine and chassis are completely integrated. The emphasis on the ERS and electrical technology means every single part has to be in phase, and the more time we have to do this, the better the final product.
“We are at an exciting phase of the project, 30 months after initial kick-off and 10 months ahead of our first race results. We have set ourselves ambitious objectives, and are managing the time and our resources to extract the best performance for our teams in 2014 and beyond. We have been running single cylinder R&D tests since the first quarter of 2011 and have had a technology demonstrator V6 on test since mid-2012.
“We have learned a great deal, we have made real breakthroughs and overcome some set-backs and have applied our new-found knowledge to the design of our first race intended Power Unit that will fire-up in June, exactly as required on our master schedule. From then on we will concentrate on the performance development and validation work needed ahead of the first car tests in January and the first race in March 2014. There is a huge workload ahead, but the Viry team relish the challenge and will give its all to be ready in time.”