It’s been well documented throughout the whole of the 2015 season that the once glorious and seemingly unbreakable relationship between Red Bull and Renault is currently under a massive strain and an impending divorce, but what does it mean for the energy drinks powerhouse’s side?
In Friday Practice in Austin last weekend, a tight-lipped team-principal Christian Horner babbled a whole lot of nothing towards the media, saying that there will be a decision don’t worry, but we won’t tell you who it is, simply because we don’t know.
Why this is could be down to many reasons. As it looks like they are heading towards their first season without a win since 2008, Dietrich Mateschitz has been throwing his toys out the pram, threatening to leave the sport unless they either ditch Renault and find the best power unit possible or until we go back to the V8 era, an idea that has created mixed reactions from the big boys and fans of Formula 1 alike.
But, empty threats and dreaming aside, Red Bull are facing a dilemma. They could get the engine they want from another supplier, but who will that be and there is a major chance that they’ll miss the first winter test in 2016. And given the ever-tightening and growing restrictions on testing (or lack of), then another rough year looks like it would be on the cards for the multiple World Championship winning constructor.
The other part of the dilemma is getting to the first test but having to stay with Renault. And with the French car giant looking to buy the cash-strapped Lotus team, there’s a very high possibility that they wouldn’t even get a works engine, which would be disastrous, given how underpowered the current works engine is.
So what are their options? They recently confessed that they thought they had a lucrative deal with Mercedes tied up in July, which is why they started to cancel their partnership with Renault, but as Mercedes swiftly shut the door on that, the situation became very sticky. What’s more, Niki Lauda told Autosport that Mateschitz didn’t follow up on promising early negotiations. If that’s the truth, talk about shooting yourself in the foot…
Ferrari would be the next logical decision for Red Bull, after they supplied the Milton Keynes side with engines in 2006 and have developed what is by far the second best power unit behind Mercedes since the return of the V6 turbos. But Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne revealed that he was unwilling to supply Red Bull with power units due to their superb chassis and therefore competitiveness. So no deal there.
Finally, there is Honda. Unfortunately the Japanese company has become quite the laughing stock in Formula 1 this year, due to their tumultuous return with McLaren, but signs of vast improvement are emerging. After all, Honda didn’t want to return to F1 until 2016, but Ron gets what Ron wants usually and they were soon given the hurry-up. And that’s the problem for Red Bull. Ron Dennis really isn’t keen on sharing that Honda power (and there’s not a lot of it) with anyone else, due to him wanting this project to be unique and for that unit to be treated like one of McLaren’s own concoctions.
The days of Sebastian Vettel saying “Enjoy these times, they won’t last forever” after wrapping up his and Red Bull’s fourth consecutive World Championship in 2013, are really ringing true now.
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