Renault held engine deal talks with 'prospective' F1 entrants

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Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski says that Renault has held talks with "prospective" F1 entrants over a potential engine supply deal.

Since McLaren's switch to Mercedes power at the start of the 2021 season, Alpine is the only team on the grid to rely on the engines of parent company Renault.

Budkowski says that there have been talks with parties that have publicized there interest in entering Formula 1, while Renault has also held conversations with the promotors of potential projects that have not been publicly divulged.

"There are people who are interested in entering the sport," said Budkowski, quoted by The Race.

"Some of them have made themselves public and have been covered in the press over the past couple of years. Some of them have not looked for publicity or public knowledge.

"There’s a lot of people interested in Formula 1 because it’s a great sport and hopefully it will become a sustainable and maybe profitable business with the cost cap and improved prize fund.

"So there’s lots of interest. We have talked to prospective entrants. At the moment it hasn’t really borne fruit in terms of a new entrant."

Groupe Renault CEO Luca de Meo with Marcin Budkowski

The two main publicly known initiatives that have been covered by the media in the past are the Panthera Team Asia F1, spearheaded by Tim Milne and Benjamin Durand, and the Monaco F1 Racing Team that was seeking a partnership with Campos Racing.

However, there has been no recent update on the status of the projects.

As a reminder, any new Formula 1 team wishing to join the grid in the future will be required to fork out a hefty $200 million entry fee, a provision that was inscribed in the sport's most recent Concorde Agreement and that is intended to protect the prize money of current teams.

"Obviously, it’s not that easy," admitted Budkowski. "The FIA needs to open a tender and then it needs to be a process going through.

"If there was a good project being mounted with someone with financing and a good and clever approach to building a new team, then we are open to discussion and would consider supporting that operation with an engine or powertrain supply.

"It’s not easy to start a Formula 1 team from scratch. It’s also not easy to compete in F1 with an existing team. But starting from scratch is a massive endeavour."

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