Red Bull F1 team considers early Renault split, Mercedes an option

Red Bull is considering terminating its contract with engine supplier Renault at the end of the 2015 Formula 1 season, AUTOSPORT has learned

Red Bull F1 team considers early Renault split, Mercedes an option

Tensions between Red Bull and Renault, who have a deal through 2016, have increased as the French manufacturer struggles with performance and reliability.

It is believed there are performances clauses in the contract and AUTOSPORT understands Red Bull is strongly considering activating these.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner told AUTOSPORT: "We can't afford to have another season like this season.

"There is still a long way to go in this season, we're very working hard to turn it around.

"But it is very damaging and very expensive when you get into this scenario.

"We have put an awful lot of funding into the engine, we paid for the engine - it's not a free engine.

"When you're using a customer product, that's when frustration sometimes boils over."

RENAULT WORKS TEAM PLANS A FACTOR

Another factor in the situation is the prospect of Renault again becoming a works team.

AUTOSPORT understands buyout talks are at an advanced stage between Renault and Lotus, with the possibility a deal could be confirmed by the end of the month.

"We have an agreement until 2016 and it's important to understand what Renault's plans are," said Horner. "Then we can react accordingly.

"We want to see what Renault's commitment is in the long term regarding Formula 1."

It would leave Red Bull requiring a new engine partner, with Mercedes strongly mooted as the likely candidate.

Modern design techniques are such that lead times are shortening and any decision on the engine supply could be delayed until November.

When asked if it would be easy to adapt the concept for next year's car to a different engine, Horner said: "Nothing is ever impossible.

"Look at what Ross Brawn did [with the 2009 title-winning Brawn GP], he didn't find out what engine he'd got in 2009 until December.

"Where there is a will, there's always a way."

MERCEDES 'WILL NOT INTERFERE'

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, however, has made clear he will not interfere in the relationship between Red Bull and Renault.

Should the possibility of a partnership arise, Wolff has told AUTOSPORT many factors would have to be considered before talks could even commence.

"We are aware, and been made aware by all parties, there is an existing contractual relationship between Red Bull and Renault and we are not going to interfere in that," said Wolff.

"So that is being sorted out between those two anyway, and it's none of our concern they should do that.

"If you look at it from Mercedes' perspective it is probably the wrong thing to do to supply an engine to a fifth customer as it would put stress on the organisation.

F1's engine silly season about to kick off

"Additionally, supplying one of your championship contenders with big resources, it needs to be carefully judged and balanced as to whether we would want to do that.

"But then from a global perspective Red Bull is a really phenomenal brand which attracts younger audiences and consumers.

"Therefore you cannot wipe it off the table and say 'From the team's perspective it doesn't make any sense, so we are not looking at it'.

"No, you carefully analyse the pros and cons, and then obviously make a decision.

"We haven't reached that phase yet because the opportunity doesn't exist at the moment because of the relationship between Red Bull and Renault, which we honour."

The Mercedes executive management board is believed to be split regarding a tie-up, while it is understood Williams has a premium customer contract with Mercedes, which could impact any deal with Red Bull.

shares
comments
Belgian F1 GP: Grosjean, Maldonado defend Lotus amid troubles

Previous article

Belgian F1 GP: Grosjean, Maldonado defend Lotus amid troubles

Next article

Belgian GP: Williams F1 team admits Force India and Lotus a threat

Belgian GP: Williams F1 team admits Force India and Lotus a threat
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021