Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul says the French manufacturer is “not desperate” to find a new customer team to replace McLaren ahead of its switch to Mercedes engines for 2021.
McLaren linked up with Renault ahead of the 2018 season on a three-year deal, but announced last month that it would be switching to Mercedes engines and power units from 2021.
The deal leaves Renault with no customer teams to supply from 2021, but Abiteboul said there was no desperation on his side to find a new partner, stressing he was conscious of the existing agreements in place.
“We know the team arrangements. Lots of long-standing relationships were already in existence when we went back into the sport,” Abiteboul said.
“Williams, Racing Point, they are very loyal partners to Mercedes. And the same for Haas [with Ferrari], Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Honda.
“We’ll look at opportunities. We are not desperate. We will only jump on one opportunity if it’s a real opportunity or a possible strategic partnership.”
Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda are all set to power multiple teams from 2021 should their existing deals continue, but Abiteboul had no fears that Renault would be cornered politically, saying it has never put pressure on customer teams to follow its lead.
“Maybe the problem is that we are a bit too naïve in the sport, but we never use engine supplies as a way to influence control over teams, so this doesn’t change anything,” Abiteboul said.
“The number of times we have seen McLaren or Red Bull or Toro Rosso voting in a completely different way to what we are thinking - it doesn’t remove anything.
“We need to see also how the governance is developing. The plan also presented on the governance side is giving less power to the teams, so you could argue that therefore it’s important to have a critical mass you can influence, maybe that’s something that Mercedes is considering.
“You could also argue that what is going to happen is that the FIA and Formula 1 are going to control most of the sport, full stop, so let’s not try.”