Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn has dropped the firmest hint yet that his company is ready to accept a termination of its contract with Red Bull for next year.
Following months of tension between the French car manufacturer and the Red Bull team over a lack of performance this season, it had always seemed likely that the companies were heading for a divorce.
But while that had initially been expected to happen in 2017 after its current contract expired, it emerged in July that Red Bull had notified Renault of its intention to nullify the deal this year.
Now, Ghosn has revealed that his company is negotiating the terms of the split, as he said there was little reason for the partnership to carry on.
"We are analysing what to do," Ghosn told British publication Autocar in an interview at the Frankfurt Motorshow.
"We have been clear in saying 'don't count on us as a provider of engines'.
"It is clear that if you provide engines you aren't mentioned when you win and you are criticised when you have problems."
Renault future unclear
Ghosn has been analysing a plan for Renault to return to works team status in F1, with negotiations to take over the Lotus team at an advanced stage.
However, there remain big hurdles to be overcome, and Renault is chasing increased commercial rights income from Bernie Ecclestone if it is going to push ahead with the plan.
While talks with Ecclestone are ongoing, Ghosn has said that the situation for him remains unclear, and there is a chance Renault could still withdraw from F1 totally.
"Our future is the subject of detailed analysis and renegotiating," said Ghosn. "We will either exit or run our own team. We don't have a clear decision yet."