LONDON (Reuters) - BP and its Castrol brand will replace French oil company Total as the Renault Formula One team’s official fuel and lubricant supplier this season, both sides said on Thursday.
The two companies last worked together in 1997 when the then-world champions Williams had Renault engines and BP sponsorship.
“With the new aerodynamic regulations for the 2017 Formula One season, power sensitivity will increase,” said Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul.
“Therefore fuels and lubricants will make an even greater difference to the overall performance of the car than they have since the new power unit regulations have been introduced in 2014.”
Renault, champions in 2005 and 2006 with Spaniard Fernando Alonso, sold their factory team in 2010 but returned as constructors last year after buying it back from Lotus.
They finished ninth of 11 teams with only eight points but are hoping to make significant progress with an improved engine and German driver Nico Hulkenberg drafted in alongside Britain’s Jolyon Palmer.
The fuel supply announcement had been expected and continues a shake-up that started in December when ExxonMobil ended a 21-year partnership with McLaren and switched to Red Bull, who use Renault engines with Tag Heuer branding.
Former world champions Red Bull were also previously fueled by Total.
Honda-powered McLaren have yet to announce their new fuel supplier but are also expected to do a deal with BP. Mercedes are partnered with Petronas while Ferrari have been with Shell for decades.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Keith Weir