Red Bull Racing has set its sights on extending its engine partnership deal with Renault, having revealed it was already close to a new contract before last week's rules switch to 1.6-liter V6 turbos for Formula 1 in 2014.
The Red Bull Racing/Renault tie-up delivered its first World Championship last season and the current dominance of Sebastian Vettel looks set to result in another title this year. Despite that success, Red Bull Racing has not always been totally happy with the ultimate power of the Renault, and two years ago it came close to making a switch to Mercedes-Benz. However, with the overall performance of the Renault power unit now paying dividends, Red Bull Racing has said that its priority is to renew its Renault contract, which comes to an end after 2012.
Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz said: "We always tried to be associated with a big manufacturer. Renault will remain our first approach for a deal for 2013 and beyond."
Asked about the team's plans going forward, Red Bull's motorsport adviser Helmut Marko said: "Talking with Renault about 2013 and further on has progressed very well, as we expected to run the 1.6-liter four cylinder turbo. An extension of our contract was close until the new situation came up. Concerning the V6 turbo from 2014, we have received positive signals from Renault, but we have to discuss the details of the new situation."
There has recently been speculation that Red Bull could consider building its own engine in the future, with the Austrian company AVL List having been singled out as a potential partner. Mateschitz played down the idea, however, stating that "only in extreme conditions with no manufacturer available for us" would his company follow that route.
Marko added: "I would consider AVL capable of building a F1 engine, with a couple of re-enforcements in several areas."
Renault is eager to supply four teams in F1 in the future, with deals currently in place with the Lotus Renault GP team, Team Lotus and Red Bull Racing. Discussions have taken place with Williams about a renewal of their old partnership, and the French car manufacturer is weighing up the formation of a works-type association with one of its team in the near future.