Renault is reportedly considering buying a team and going into F1 alone as a full constructor once again.
Bruised by the "crashgate" affair (video at bottom of article), the French carmaker sold its works Enstone team to Gerard Lopez in 2010, who renamed it Lotus.
But according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Renault is now considering buying it back.
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Correspondent Michael Schmidt said Renault is unhappy with its current situation: spending a lot of money as Red Bull’s works supplier, only to be dwarfed from a marketing perspective by the energy drinks company.
Not only that, Red Bull has been highly critical of its partner, and in the last months been making its own moves to improve the turbo V6 engine, including bringing in the former Mercedes guru Mario Illien.
Schmidt said Renault is considering internally whether running a full works team again, as it did when Fernando Alonso won the 2005 and 2006 titles, might now be the better strategy.
"On Renault’s short-list are Lotus, Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso," he revealed, adding that Bob Bell, formerly a leading Renault figure who recently departed Mercedes, might be involved.
Auto Motor und Sport said Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s second team, could be the frontrunner, as it is the only team on the list with no debt.
An added bonus is that, alongside Red Bull, the Faenza outfit is the only currently Renault-powered team.