Renault Will Have So Much Time To Focus On F1 Engines Now That McLaren Doesn't Want One

Lando Norris at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

The top tiers of McLaren open-wheel racing have been in a loop of pain for years, some of it by McLaren’s own doing and some of it simply because life is hard. But even with the Formula One team’s eyes toward a brighter, Mercedes-powered future in 2021, life had to get at least one more gut punch in.

That punch came from Renault, the engine supplier McLaren is leaving in order to go to Mercedes. When asked, Renault said McLaren’s departure won’t hurt financially and will be “one less distraction.”

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Poor McLaren can’t ever win, as we’ve seen from years of repeated pain and suffering on the race track and off. Carlos Sainz sits sixth in driver points for the team in F1 so far this year, at least.

The quotes came from Autosport, where Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul talked about having multiple customers—in other words, a factory team plus one or more outside teams like McLaren using the factory engine—versus going at it alone. And while Mercedes prefers customer teams, Abiteboul was cool with Renault going on its own from 2021 onward.

From the story:

“In particular for next year there is no impact because the engine for next year is done,” he said.

“It’s on the dyno already, you know that it’s a long lead-time development, so nothing is going to impact what we are doing for 2020.

“It’s going to impact what we could be doing for 2021 on the basis that, when you have multiple customers, in particular the way that Renault is doing it, we always try to satisfy everyone to take on board all the comments in terms of installation, and so on and so forth, so that will be one less distraction.

“We will be able to focus on ourselves and just on ourselves. And that’s it.”

Abiteboul told Autosport profit loss isn’t an issue due to the pricing of Renault’s approach adjacent to price limits on supply deals. That means Renault wasn’t actually making a profit by selling the engines, the story said, and Abiteboul said that from an economic perspective, losing McLaren means nothing.

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From Autosport:

“[...] It’s always satisfying to see your product being used by multiple teams.

“But in terms of what we need to achieve and deliver for Renault it has absolutely no impact.”

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Just so you know, McLaren, we’re here if you ever need a hug or anything. Don’t keep these feelings all bottled up, now.

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About the author

Alanis King

Alanis King is a staff writer at Jalopnik.