There were cheers in the Renault garage, as Daniel Ricciardo secured a P3 in the Eifel Grand Prix. Team principal Cyril Abiteboul would be pleased with the cars’ progress in general.
But, former partners Red Bull also showed them that they are still the best team after Mercedes. Max Verstappen secured a P2, finishing 4.5 seconds behind race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Given Honda’s exit from F1 in 2021, Red Bull are now on the search for a new engine supplier. If they are unable to secure a deal with any other supplier, Renault would have an obligation to supply to them, according to F1’s rules.
Renault had a ‘neutral meeting’ with Red Bull officials
Prior to the race start, there was speculation that Red Bull bosses held a meeting with Renault CEO Luca de Meo. It is possible they might have been discussing a potential engine supply deal from 2022 onwards.
But, Cyril Abiteboul believed the meeting was more of a meet-and-greet rather than a business discussion.
Speaking in the post-race interview, he stated, “Sorry to say that it was a neutral meeting. It was a sort of get to know each other. Because Luca de Meo, our CEO, has just joined Renault very recently.”
“So it was the first time that they were properly meeting. You know just a get to know each other meeting. Just like Luca de Meo is meeting lots of people in the paddock.” concluded Abiteboul on the topic.
Red Bull and Renault have had a partnership in the past
It is not a secret that Renault was a crucial cog in the wheel of Red Bull’s golden time, when they won four championships from 2010 to 2013. But as time passed, they lost faith in the Renault engines.
Subsequently, Red Bull negotiated an agreement with Honda from 2019. That deal is set to run down until the end of the 2021 season.
Technical regulations state, that a manufacturer with the least number of partner teams must supply to a team, if they cannot strike a deal with any other supplier. And with Renault showing signs of improvement ahead of 2021, Red Bull may consider them as a possible option.