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Renault to end customer engines for F1 rivals

French company’s F1 future hangs in the balance as chairman says they'll buy Lotus or leave

Renault have announced that they will no longer provide teams with power units after their current contractual obligations come to an end.

The news isn’t a great surprise given that Red Bull – Renault’s only customers in F1 along with sister team Toro Rosso – are openly trying to find a new supplier, and have been for some time.

Renault chairman and chief exec Carlos Ghosn said: “We have already alerted the F1 authorities and told them: ‘Don’t count on us as a provider of an engine. It’s over.’”

The French manufacturer – who helped Red Bull win a fourth consecutive world championship double less than two years ago – could still take control of financially struggling Lotus, although Ghosn says they “don’t have a clear decision yet.”

The news comes a week after Christian Horner ruled out an engine deal with Mercedes, with Red Bull’s most likely new partner coming in the form of Ferrari.

Scuderia boss Maurizio Arrivabene has said that he doesn’t see “any kind of problem” with powering the Austrian outfit, reasoning that it wouldn’t be in “the right spirit of competition” to shun their rivals completely.

Failing to reach an agreement with the Italian team would leave them with only one unthinkable alternative: Honda, whose struggles alongside McLaren need little introduction.

A long separation between Renault and Red Bull looks near completion amid a season in which their power unit has lagged behind in two key areas: the first being the competitiveness of the engine, and the second being it’s proclivity to blowing up.

On the bright side, it could at least bring to an end the ‘blame game’ headlines which have seen the two parties relentlessly point the finger at each other for their recent failures.

“Unfortunately when we were winning championships the Renault name was never mentioned,” claimed Ghosn. “So we started to feel the return on this investment was very weak.

“So you are in the game that when you perform very well you are never mentioned, and when there is a problem with the team you are the first guy to be pointed at.

“I think it’s a question of sportsmanship. We are expecting, that when we are in a sport working with other people, we win together and we lose together.”

Or in this case win together, lose apart.

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