JUNE 16, 2006
Renault looking for a second team
Renault wants to cash in on its recent successes and sign a second team for 2007. The company has plenty of capacity at its engine headquarters at Viry-Chatillon and a deal makes sense from a financial point of view - if the team can find a customer. The only teams looking for engines next year are Midland, Williams and, in theory at least, Scuderia Toro Rosso. Williams is close to a deal with Toyota while Scuderia Toro Rosso is expected to inherit the Ferrari engines from Red Bull Racing. RBR is expected to skip to a Cosworth engine deal and we hear that Midland is also going down that path as well - and we have even heard suggestions that the team is trying to talk Williams into a deal over chassis, to save time and money in the design process. All of this leaves Renault without a customer team. This is odd given the competitiveness of the car but obviously price must be an issue.
It is thought much more likely that Renault will do a deal, perhaps for chassis and engines, with the new Prodrive team. This will want to start testing cars in the course of 2007 in preparation for its F1 debut in 2008.
Supplying engines (and indeed chassis) to second teams is the obvious route for the big teams to take as this offsets the costs of development. The problem with this theory is that rather than helping the middle-ranking teams to survive, the move to allow the sale of cars will create a sub-class of F1 teams that will become dependent on the bigger teams and, at the same time, have very little chance of winning anything.
Renault's involvement in the programme would, in any case, be minimal as the company uses Mecachrome for some of its preparation work.
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