According to Autosport, the company has ruled out starting its own team again from scratch, but it is weighing the possibility of buying an existing team. The last time it competed was when it took over the championship-winning Benetton team in 2002, building it back up to win back-to-back world titles in 2005 and 2006. It subsequently dropped in form until Renault sold the team in 2011 to Genii Capital, which has run it under the Lotus banner ever since.
The Lotus team continued using Renault engines with limited success until this season when it switched to Mercedes. With Caterham now gone from the grid, that leaves Renault with only one customer: Red Bull, which runs both the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso teams under Renault power. It's a situation in which the French company apparently doesn't particularly revel, leading it to consider buying a team again and running it in-house.
Considering the difficulty the Lotus team it once owned has encountered lately, reacquiring its old operation could prove the most logical step for Renault, but of course that doesn't mean that's what it will ultimately do. It could continue strengthening ties with Red Bull until it acquires a large portion of it (or Toro Rosso) – something which Audi is said to be eying as well. Or it could look to another team altogether. Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams may not be up for sale, but we could easily see Renault taking over cash-strapped Force India or Sauber, or even pouring its resources into getting Caterham or Manor/Marussia back up to speed and whipping it into winning form.