Renault says it would like to get involved in Formula E, should the FIA's all-electric championship launch as intended next year.
Organizers of the electric-powered open-wheel series have already presented an eight-round calendar, comprised of downtown street circuits in cities around the world, to the sport's governing body. Michelin, meanwhile, has come on board as the official tire supplier, while Dallara is working on the chassis for the new championship.
Renault says its own involvement is increasingly likely, particularly given its expertise in the European and global electronic vehicle market.
"Formula E is something that we are looking at very closely," said Carlos Tavares, COO of the Renault group. "It's very probable to say that, if it happens, we will be involved in one way or another.
"Renault is the EV sales leader in Europe and the Renault-Nissan alliance is the sales leader in the world. [Formula E] is completely consistent with our mastery of the technology, and we're eager to use that platform to show to the people what we can do."
Tavares said it was important that Formula E is run as an open championship, and with an emphasis on showcasing the most advanced technology rather than a more typical focus on good racing.
"There is a big difference between conventional racing and zero emission racing," Tavares explained. "A zero-emission racing series is about promoting new technologies. If you are promoting this, you must realize that the best technology must win.
"Renault as the EV leader in zero emissions would want to compete in a championship to demonstrate [its] technology is the best. I would not like to be under the threat of Balance of Performance criteria, so I think we should be consistent with that. After all, the role of motorsport, in its purist form, is to promote the efficiency of new technology."
OPINION: More than a pipedream
Formula E is a highly intriguing proposition as a racing series. It's very easy to write it off, saying races around city centers will never happen, and that ideas like swapping cars for the second race, or running to the vehicles at the start, are pure gimmicks that show just how flaky this concept is.
However, let's look at who's behind this: series founder Alejandro Agag is an influential player, who moves in the right circles (including Bernie Ecclestone's). He's a skilled politician with sharp tools at his disposal – he even made sense of Queens Park Rangers, one of the most dysfunctional soccer teams in Britain. Agag has got the FIA on side, and green credentials are becoming increasingly important on many agendas.
Renault was probably the first manufacturer's door he'd have knocked on. It is spending many millions on its electric road cars, and it's hard to envisage this series happening without them. Over dinner with COO Carlos Tavares, his enthusiasm for the project was clear – as long as the existing hybrid technology as used in sports cars isn't allowed in.
Then there are proponents like David Richards at Prodrive and former UK government minister Lord Drayson, who has already signed up to participate. And how about teams like McLaren and Williams, which also have track records in this arena?
Add in heavy hitters like these, and it becomes an exciting prospect rather than a mere pipedream.