Renault confirms talks with McLaren over 2018 F1 engine supply

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Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed that talks have taken place with McLaren regarding a potential engine supply for the 2018 season.

McLaren is currently considering its options after three difficult years working with Honda, whose power units have lacked both reliability and performance, causing the relationship to sour.

After reported talks with Mercedes and Ferrari over a 2018 supply broke down, McLaren has now turned to Renault, which offers the last viable alternative to Honda for next year.

Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, Abiteboul confirmed that reports of talks between Renault and McLaren were accurate, but is doubtful of supplying an additional team to the three already powered by the French manufacturer: Red Bull, Toro Rosso, and its own factory team.

“The situation is that we have multi-year contracts with Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso. Frankly, we are open to discussions,” Abiteboul said.

“I can confirm that there have been discussions with McLaren. There is a restriction in the regulations if we wanted to supply more than three teams.

“Any addition to that, I don’t think that it would be reasonable to believe that we could supply more than three without degrading the level of service and the quality of service for the other teams. We’ve had discussions.

“We value the relationship with Red Bull. It’s a long-standing relationship and we would like to carry this relationship until its term, 2020.”

Honda had been rumored to be in talks with Toro Rosso regarding an engine supply for 2018, creating the possibility of a swap with McLaren for next year, but both parties have denied this after reports suggested initial discussions broke down.