Renault has renamed its F1 team under the Alpine brand for 2021 as part of the ‘Renaulution’ within the company which was initiated by new CEO Luca de Meo following his takeover last summer .
But Renault is currently not supplying any powertrains to other F1 teams after its client McLaren’s contract ended last year, with the British team switching to Mercedes for 2021.
By comparison, its three power rivals all have at least two customer teams to work with. Mercedes has McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams; Ferrari works with Haas and Alfa Romeo; and Honda powers Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, in the pits
Photo By: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Renault bosses have previously said they are relaxed about the situation and while they would be open to a partner team model in the future, it would have to be the right deal.
Speaking at a recent roundtable with the media, Renault’s CEO of Meo acknowledged the benefits offered by the partner teams, but questioned to what extent the model was financially beneficial for the supplier of units of power.
“Of course in theory it’s better when your engine is being used by others because maybe you can exchange data, share some things,” de Meo said at some outlets, including Autosport.
“But the current conditions – and I say it very clearly – in particular the economic conditions, transfer of technology between one team and another, those which are defined by the federation – are not in fact very favorable.
“So the price other teams are paying to access the technology of people like us who are making the initial investment is not a good business case, if you ask me.
“I have said this several times. I don’t want to enter any numbers, but I can tell you it’s not a good deal.
“It’s only done so that small teams that don’t have the capacity to produce an engine, and that’s the vast majority, can get into the game. But for us economically, that doesn’t change much.
George Russell, Williams FW43B
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Williams has been a team linked to Renault to form a potential partnership with Team B going forward, but has made it clear that they want to maintain their independence in the long run.
Despite having a reduced dataset by only providing units of power to himself, Alpine boss Laurent Rossi said the risks in the event of a problem are also significantly reduced.
“Providing a PSU to other people, as Luca said, can be an advantage, as you can get additional data points to further solidify the reliability and performance of your PSU,” Rossi said.
“That said, the way it’s been built until recently makes it dangerously expensive, in fact, once you run into issues with processing and managing the performance of other power units.
“If you have reliability issues on the track, then suddenly you have like a crisis, and you have to delegate part of your team to it.
“You have to have the structure for that, which isn’t what we decided, because it’s another team sitting down, not doing anything and getting ready to do it to support the other team.
“So we would prefer our whole team to focus on designing our chassis and engine, and then we will determine if we have space, time, energy, for the others.
“But, at the moment, we’re pretty happy to do it that way to be honest.”