Renault increasing involvement in Formula E

Renault was one of the driving forces behind the FIA Formula E Championship. As well it should have, considering that it (along with its ally Nissan) stands as one of the largest producers of electric vehicles in the industry, while supporting major racing programs across numerous disciplines. But next year it's taking an even more active role as Autosport reports that the French outfit is stepping up its involvement with the e.dams team from sponsorship to powertrain supplier.

Though a number of companies (including Williams and McLaren) were involved in developing the electric components that propelled the series in its inaugural season, the role that Renault played was arguably the most crucial. Next year, however, the series is opening up the regulations to allow for individual powertrain development, a role which Renault will play for the e.dams team that won the teams' championship this past weekend and quite nearly clinched the drivers' title as well.

"We're already thinking about the future of the series," said Renault Sport director Patrice Ratti. "We are determined to come back stronger next season thanks to our expertise in the field of electric vehicles, against new rivals in an open formula." All told, there will be eight suppliers developing their own electric powertrains for next year's championship, including Renault, Citroën's DS division, Venturi, and Mahindra. Andretti Autosport is setting up its own electric propulsion division, while other teams have yet to confirm who'll be developing their powertrains.

Renault's increased involvement in Formula E comes at a time when the future of its Formula One operations have been cast into doubt. The French marque has come under increased scrutiny from its partner Red Bull Racing, with which it won four world championships back to back but has since fallen off form due largely to a lackluster engine package. Reports have predicted that if their performance can't be improved, either Red Bull, Renault, or both could end up pulling out of F1 – and in Renault's case, potentially focusing on Formula E instead.

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