Red Bull on brink of new Renault Formula 1 engine deal for 2016

Red Bull and Renault are poised to continue their Formula 1 partnership into 2016, providing the former's owner Dietrich Mateschitz gives the green light, Autosport understands

Red Bull on brink of new Renault Formula 1 engine deal for 2016

When Red Bull informed Renault it wanted to terminate its contract a year early, it believed it had secured a Mercedes supply for next season following high-level talks.

But the German manufacturer ultimately decided it did not want to enter into an agreement with Red Bull, and subsequent talks with Ferrari and then Honda came to nothing - the latter "very keen" but blocked by McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis.

With alternatives exhausted, Red Bull sought new talks with Renault, which at no stage voided its side of the long-standing arrangement.

Autosport now understands the two companies are close to renewing the partnership, at least for 2016, potentially for longer, but with financial implications for Red Bull.

Renault-affiliated sponsors Infiniti and Total will remain on the RB12 next year, but then disappear from 2017 onwards.

Its deals with Infiniti and Total have given Red Bull more than double the amount in sponsorship than it has been paying for the Renault engine supply.

Under the terms of any new agreement there will be significantly reduced funds from the two big sponsors for 2016, increasing what Red Bull itself must pay Renault.

That additional revenue for Renault will, in part, help fund its works team revival, with its deal for a majority stake in Lotus set for completion around the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this month.

It will also have more money to invest in its engine development programme as it chases Mercedes and Ferrari.

Any engine performance gains will also naturally aid Red Bull, with the Milton Keynes-based marque scheduled to play its part by running Renault's updated engine from this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix.

As reported by Autosport last month, Renault used 11 of its season's 12 engine development tokens on the upgrade, but Red Bull preferred to avert the necessary grid penalty to Interlagos as Austin and Mexico City suited its car better.

One factor yet to be determined is whether the engines will be Renault-badged, unbranded or carry an entirely different name.

It is believed Renault would be happy for Red Bull to rebrand its engine as that would allow a clear marketing focus on the works team.

As one source noted: "[The rebranding] could be something exotic, it could be nothing, or one of those marketing things Red Bull is very good at.

"Because they have the Energy Station they could call it the Energy power unit, something leftfield."

Autosport understands the new contracts have already been exchanged, but another source added: "No decision has been made because it is Mateschitz who needs to make the call.

"The big boss hasn't decided yet whether Red Bull stays in Formula 1 or not, that is still up in the air."

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