Renault, engine providers to Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso, are seriously considering quitting Formula 1 according to Renault Chief, Cyril Abiteboul, and may come back with another team.
Renault has received a lot of criticism in the last few months regarding the quality of their engines and at the last round in Melbourne, Australia, finished a whole lap down on the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Looking at options
Abiteboul said at a press conference in Malaysia, as relayed by BBC Sport: "We are looking at a lot of options, including getting out of Formula 1 if it's bad for Renault's reputation."
Renault's engines were responsible for driving the Red Bull team to four consecutive Constructors World Championships, from 2009-2013, however have been considerably under performing in pre-season testing and in the opening Grand Prix in Melbourne two weeks ago.
"We think we are a credible player in the sport but you need to think about what else we need to do on top of what we already are. But right now, the focus remains on the engine", said Abiteboul.
Abiteboul said there is a possibility Renault could withdraw and then come back having bought Red Bull's sister team, Toro Rosso. Toro Rosso team principle, Franz Tost, said this could be a: "fantastic opportunity".
"To be owned by a manufacturer would be exactly the step forward which the team needs", said Tost.
These comments from Renault add to mounting tension between Red Bull just days before the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Red Bull team principle, Christian Horner, has denied any difficulties between the two however feelings have been strained ever since Abiteboul accused Red Bull designer, Adrian Newey, of lying about the engine.
The BBC's chief Formula One correspondent, Andrew Benson, said of the situation: "The relationship between Red Bull and engine supplier Renault is clearly at its lowest ebb and it's hard to believe it's only a little over a year since they were celebrating their fourth consecutive title double together.
"Renault are scouting around with one eye on buying a team and running one themselves again. But where would Red Bull go for an engine if not Renault? Mercedes have already said no and Ferrari would probably not be keen either.
"It's not impossible that the threats made after Australia that Red Bull might quit the sport are less empty than initially believed, although they, like all teams, are contracted to F1 until 2020."