Red Bull Racing’s fractious relationship with Renault has taken another twist following claims the Milton Keynes outfit is considering terminating its engine contract.
The former world champion team has been vocal regarding its frustrations with the lack of speed and reliability of its Renault’s power units this year.
Red Bull is currently locked into a contract with Renault until the end of 2016, although reports have indicated the team has sent the French marque a termination notice.
Renault, who also supplies engines to Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso, is also considering its future in the sport.
The car manufacturer is contemplating forming its own team after confirming talks are in motion to buy the Lotus operation, which it owned from 2000-2010.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has refused to comment on the speculation but reiterated his squad cannot afford a repeat of the struggles seen this season in 2016.
“We can’t afford to have another season like this season,” Horner told Autosport.com.
“There is still a long way to go in this season, we’re very working hard to turn it around.
“But it is very damaging and very expensive when you get into this scenario.
“We have put an awful lot of funding into the engine, we paid for the engine – it’s not a free engine.
“When you’re using a customer product, that’s when frustration sometimes boils over.”
If the termination comes to fruition the team will need to find a new engine supplier with Mercedes already being linked to fill the void.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff responded to the claims by confirming the German manufacturer has not held talks with Red Bull regarding a possible engine deal.
“We said, and this is still the situation, that we will not interfere into an existing relationship for many reasons,” said Wolff.
“Legally, we don’t do this and it’s not the way we approach business in general and then you must not forget that Renault and Daimler go back a long way…we have a very amicable industrial relationship.
“That is why we said that until that is resolved between the two parties (Renault and Red Bull) we will not even start any discussion…it hasn’t reached that point and the complexity is quite large with many decisions to be made.”