Red Bull/Renault 2016 F1 deal secure even if Lotus talks collapse

Christian Horner is adamant Red Bull's Renault engine agreement for 2016 is bulletproof even if the French firm's Lotus takeover talks collapse and it pulls out of Formula 1

Red Bull/Renault 2016 F1 deal secure even if Lotus talks collapse

Horner revealed on Friday, ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, that after months of uncertainty the team's future was now secure as a power unit deal was in place for next year, with confirmation expected by the end of this week.

Having failed to land a power unit from Mercedes, Ferrari or Honda, Red Bull has been forced to return to Renault.

In tandem, Renault is in the final throes of its takeover of Lotus, although has hit a stumbling block in its negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone over the revenues it feels it is entitled to given its longevity in F1.

Ecclestone held talks on two occasions with Renault Sport F1 president Jerome Stoll over the course of the weekend with regard to constructors' bonus and historic payments.

It is understood a final offer is on the table from Ecclestone that Stoll is to discuss with Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, which if rejected will end the Lotus deal.

Regardless of what transpires between Ecclestone, Renault and Lotus, Red Bull will still go forward into next season with its power unit plan in place according to Horner.

Asked whether the deal was dependent on Renault's future in F1, Horner said: "We have a signed contract for an engine, the details of which I hope to be able to announce within a week.

"There's obviously been an awful lot of activity over the last few weeks. I am not at liberty to say what that activity is, but I'm sure it will all come out in the wash.

"But the situation is clear in that we have an agreement for next year. I would like to be able to tell you what that is, but unfortunately I can't."

Autosport understands there are conditions attached to Red Bull's continuation with Renault.

Title sponsor Infiniti, just one of the brands under the Renault/Nissan alliance, will be dropped, representing a loss of around $70million per annum.

Although the power unit will still be supplied by Renault, there is a possibility it will be rebadged as 'Nissan F1' to put further distance between team and manufacturer.

Asked whether the engine would carry Japanese branding, Horner replied: "I'm not going to confirm or deny anything. It will be confirmed within a week or so."

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