Renault Sport is looking for an answer from Aston Martin Red Bull Racing about whether or not they will remain with the engine manufacturer for 2019 by the end of the month, with Cyril Abiteboul revealing they would not be able to guarantee an engine supply to the Milton Keynes-based outfit should a decision be made later.
Red Bull is currently evaluating whether to remain with Renault or make the switch to Honda for 2019, and with the FIA setting a deadline of May 15 for teams to commit to their 2019 engine suppliers, although this can be relaxed, as what was seen in 2017, when it was September when the McLaren F1 Team became a Renault-powered team.
However, there is differences between last year and this, with the McLaren decision also seeing Toro Rosso make the opposite move to Honda power, and Abiteboul wants to honour the May deadline if possible.
“Last year there was a late change we could accommodate because it was simply a swap between two customer teams,” said Abiteboul to Motorsport.com. “We were not changing number of suppliers, we didn’t need to change quantities of parts ordered.
“We were keeping the number of teams steady. In the present case, I can only order parts for the number of contracted teams I have. By a certain date I will not be able to guarantee availability of a Renault engine to Red Bull Racing. As simple as that.”
Abiteboul insists Renault is not trying to make life difficult for Red Bull, but due to the length of time it takes for the development of the power units it is imperative a decision is made sooner rather than later.
“It’s not because we want to be difficult, it’s simply because we need to order parts,” insists Abiteboul.
“We had the discussion with the FIA over the winter of 2015-2016, regarding an obligation for manufacturers to supply customer teams, subject to a certain notice period. That notice was May 15 the previous year.
“There were reasons for that, those reasons continue to stand, that’s why we are urging Red Bull to make a decision.”