Red Bull set to take Ferrari engines from 2017


The current agreement for Renault to supply F1 engines to both Red Bull and Toro Rosso concludes at the end of 2016.

What has been astonishing is that despite the recent domination of this chassis/engine partnership, Dietrich Mateschitz has sanctioned repeated brutal public attacks by his lieutenants on their F1 engine partner. This war of words is now in its second year.

Since entering F1 in 1977, Renault have been the more successful than any other engine supplier of their era and of course powered RBR to four consecutive constructor and driver world titles.

Yet despite all this, Red Bull have their eyes on a new lover and it seems the divorce with Renualt is now being finalised.

TJ13 has learned a number of meetings took place during the Canadian GP weekend where the option for Red Bull and Toro Rosso to become Ferrari engine customers in 2017 was discussed in detail.

Toro Rosso would like Sauber and Manor before them, take a ‘B’ grade engine that is around 25-35 BHP less than that Ferrari would provide for themselves and the Red Bull team.

The price of a Ferrari customer engine is believed to be in the region of 18 million euros per annum.

Helmet Marko has allegedly commented, that using a ‘B’ version of the Ferrari power unit would still be more powerful than the ‘A’ version from Renault. 

The cudgel blows continue to rain down on the French F1 engine manufacturer.

TJ13 now believes the Red Bull hierarchy met on the Wednesday following the Canadian GP and decided that they would not be renewing their contract with Renault.

If we look at the qualifying gaps between the lead Red Bull and the lead Ferrari, we see that over the first seven races of the 2015 the deficit for Red Bull averages 0.905 seconds. In Canada it was over 1 second.

There has to be a big question over whether this decision is the right one for Red Bull to make. From a pragmatic point of view, yes Red Bull would be qualifying better than their current 7, 8, 9 and 10th. However, could they ever win another championship whilst running another works team’s engine?

McLaren are suffering pain like never before to avoid exactly this situation. They shunned the all-conquering Mercedes V6 Turbo Hybrid to forge a relationship with an independent F1 engine supplier.

And what for Renault?

Well, talks of Toro Rosso being sold to Renault now appear to be history.

Then again, this could be a carrot being dangled in front of Renault, in an attempt to persuade them to move ahead and acquire the team based in Faenza – before its too late.

Lotus have said they are not for sale should Renault wish to buy a team and run it as a ‘works’ outfit.

Realistically this leaves Force India and Manor F1 as target acquisitions for Renault if they are to remain in Formula One.

So TJ13 readers, where’s your money?

Renault to remain in F1 and Vijay taking a half decent offer to sell – then heading ‘toute suite’ for the hills… or an island where the Indian authorities can’t find him?

That said, when Renault last acquired an F1 work’s team – auto manufacturers Peugeot, Ford, Toyota and Honda were all making big plans for F1 and Mercedes and BMW were increasing their investment in the sport.

Who is now left, and who is banging down the door to enter Formula One?

45 responses to “Red Bull set to take Ferrari engines from 2017

  1. The strategy is simple. Make the team the 3rd best of the grid, get its stock up, sell it!

  2. Seems a bit unlikely at the moment with the maximum number of teams a (not independent) manufacturer can supply is 4.

    Mercedes has 4
    Ferrari has 3
    Renault has 2 (independent manufacturer at the moment)
    Honda has 1.

    Should Ferrari supply Red Bull and Toro Rosso, it has to ditch either Sauber or Manor. However if the rumours about Manor and Honda are true, it maybe is possible. Although I would think that Ferrari does not want to sell to a strong competitor, which is capable of beating it’s own team.

        • Of course as the F1 field grows, those regulations could be flexed.

          Were Renault to leave F1 and the current FIA recruitment process see two more teams approved – then the maximum customers for engines would have to be increased to 5.

          Even if not, Renault will close the gap – as they did last time they fell behind, so by 2017 could have a particularly attractive power unit.

          • “renault will close the gap”
            Same as they did this year, right? As did ferrari?

          • @tj13 The regulations as they are limit just how quick that can happen. We have seen in the past just how quick teams can improve but with the current ,no testing rule,engine freeze and development curtailed its a big ask for any team. Honda have a huge problem this year but really,should this have happened? They had two year which to develope the unit while not under the blanket of the FIA, inho they dropped the ball and now are left with an engine that appears to have multiple problems,none of which will be an easy fix with the token system plus they can’t just scrap the design and start again as its fixed with the powers that be. Renault have the same problem which unlike Ferrari they appear not to be able to address,maybe its a long term plan on the teams part but again it looks like a fundamental flaw in the ICE. If F1 want to attract motor designers and manufacturing then these rules need to be relaxed or scrapped. This will allow the pack to catch-up to a runaway leading team, fighting with one hand tied and a blindfold is not a sport but its how the rules have left f1. The other problem is development cost, Mercedes have poured millions into their power train and are now reaping the rewards but this model is just not sustainable. At the most they will get 4 yrs of dominant form but even supplying 4 teams they will never get that investment back,this is why they are duty bound to oppose a regulation change. They did their homework and took hits in previous seasons so why should they back down to Ferrari and Renaults demands for a engine unfreeze,its not the fault of the teams but a failing of the sport which allowed the restrictions. Hope all that made sense lol (climbing down from soap box) I for one would love to see allout war between rivals, major spending and such. This is what brings about innovative designs and ontrack action. Maybe then we will see hybrid vs full electric, petrol and nitro or maybe even hydrogen(might make the cars lighter) v12,v10,v6 or (sniggers not needed pls)a wankle or two,how about a gas turbine engine? that’s something to think about

  3. Wow.. Mind you Red Bull and Ferrari have some history, They had their engines in 2006, then shafted Ferrari by passing on their engines to STR for 2008 on wards.. and now they’ve come back.. begging.. LOL

  4. Never thought these two bitter rivals would come to agree to something. Specially as significant as this!

  5. Oh and to comment on the last part, Force India seems to be logical at the moment. Manor have revamped/upgraded their technical staff recently so I don’t see them selling too soon. Also there are talks of Manor being the B team of McLaren as you (tj13) pointed out earlier, but I think that will only come true if ART does not jump ship to F1

    • I thought it was not even allowed since all engines have to be the same after homologation but I suppose the FIA does allow a discrepancy in software versions and that might explain the 20-25 hp power difference that is talked about in the article.

  6. it has to be said that right now anything other than a renault would have to be a winner. if renault are to be believed then their comment that they wouldn’t be able to have a competitive engine until 2016 seems to me to be wishful thinking! less tokens and no redesign allowed?

    maybe they have a stonking terrific PU in the cupboard and they have used this pretext to break the bonds with red bull and go it alone….who knows but as i said, anything would be better than this useless lump that red bull are saddled with.

  7. If this rumour is correct then,
    a) It will confirm my belief that VW have no interest in being involved in F1.
    b)Renault will use the opportunity to leave F1, as they’ve not received the right kind of publicity for winning 8 F1 titles with the Red Bullies.
    c) The Red Bullies have resigned themselve to being a 2nd tier team, living off the scraps Ferrari and Mercedes might leave them.
    d) Christian Horner won’t be gobbing off about Ferrari every few days.
    e) Red Bull won’t do very well next year, with Renault engines that will remain unchanged from today.

    • You perhaps forgot that Renault did get praise for winning the F1 titles however there was more praise for RBR because quite frankly in that era Renault was still not the most powerful but it had advantages in other areas that peak power that the other engines did not have. Why do you think with the same Red Bull chassis a Ferrari powered engine won the Italian GP than the Renault one?

      The biggest thing about this article is that RBR have negotiated the same power plants as the factory team which IMO is a big one and if they have negotiated too that they are allowed to win the WDC/WCC against Ferrari then it is a no brainer.

      Your d) shows your hatred for Horner and Marko, but their business and competitive sense is correct IMO in regards to their engine situation. Your e) shows exactly why they are looking to change.

  8. I would say Renault might buy out Force India, but I think Vijay might remain in an influential role in the team.

    P.S. – You’d like to correct “Helmet” Marko to “Helmut” Marko. Typo I guess.

  9. I still put my money on porsche. 2017 is realistic enough for them to convert their Le mans engine to a f1 spec.

  10. Guys, please change that _very_ misleading headline. It reads like a great scoop and it turns out to be speculation based on rumours. No matter if it turns out true or not, it’s bad journalism this way. At the very least add a question mark.

    Cheers, C.

    • What you have discribed is seen in everyday sports publication. There’s nothing misleading about the headlines or the article.

      “TJ13 has learned a number of meetings took place during the Canadian GP weekend where the option for Red Bull and Toro Rosso to become Ferrari engine customers in 2017 was discussed in detail.”

      That statement gives the story credibility. Would it be more credible had it been published on one of the mainstream media sites?

    • Clearly you have no journalistic experience of any worth. A headline is perfectly reasonable stated as a proposition equally as it is a question.

      Why not engage with the thrust of the content rather than tedious and pedantic nit picking.

      These kind of comments will be moderated out, there are some 30,000 new readers a month find TJ13, and when they arrive they are disinclined to join the discussion when they see these kind of petty criticisms of writers or other commentators.

      The skill of the old fashioned headline writers before the digital age, was to get their publications to stand out from the crowd on the news stands.

      If the ensuing content was disappointing, then the publications lost credibility and trust with the readers.

      TJ13 has now been first in the English speaking media with big news on many occasions, and this year is on target for several million reads.

      Not bad for a site ‘by the fans… For the fans”

      The mainstream F1 media is hardly inspiring in its presentation much of the time and would do well to send its writers for training with more cutting edge global news media organisations.

    • Will you be asking Joe Seward the same question, as he’s now repeating the story on his website?

      • I wonder when he eventually sees the story elsewhere, if he’s going to come back and apologise?

  11. If you can’t beat them, join them.
    I guess that is what’s happening huh?

    I don’t see how anyone can look at this and not view it as a defeat for RB.
    What worries me is that guys like Marko do not usually accept defeat.
    Guys like Marko burn their own castle to the ground once the gates are breached.

  12. The most interesting aspect is to imagine what would happen if Red Bull beat Ferrari more, again and constantly with Ferrari engines. Or even if it went the other way around it’d still be hillarious and allow incredible war of words.

  13. Considering the size of Red Bull’s pocketbook, I wonder why won’t they just buy Renault’s F1 engine group, or perhaps team up with an independent company to develop a Red Bull engine, with some sponsorship from Infiniti perhaps. In this case, if the engine does not perform well, they have no one else to blame but themselves.

    It’s interesting that the Ferrari engine may cost 18 millions per year. That’s not as expensive as we have originally thought. The old Cosworth V8 supposedly cost $18 million Euros for the first year, and 12 million for subsequent years.

    • But Renault were one of the key factors that forced these new hybrid engines upon us, it seems unlikely that after spending so much to build them Renault would walk away from the sport now. It’s an amazing situation where Red Bull would rather be a Ferrari customer than stick with Renault. I would imagine Ricciardo would be examining his contract pretty closely at the moment, he could end up getting stuck in the midfield like so many other promising drivers before him.

    • They have said many times that they are chassis builders not engine builders which is why they’ve either being supplied in the past or outsourced expertise to companies like AVL or consulting with Illien to help with the Renault engines.

      If you think about it from RBR, this whole moving to Ferrari – if Renault do not improve their PU the harder and harder it will be for them to catch up due to the regulations as they are. By 2017 if the PU is locked in place then what Marko says is true, the Ferrari ‘B’ engine is still better than the Renault ‘A’ engine. Fans that hate Horner and Marko might whine about them but any fan would agree with that assessment.

  14. Damn shame BMW can’t be talked back into making motors. They really knew how to make a proper F1 motor.

  15. I think RBR could win with a Bspec PU actually and Ferrari must be out of their minds or overconfident if they are seriously willing to provide them with the necessary tools.

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