Red Bull Racing will ultimately either build their own engine – or do a McLaren and partner with someone for an exclusive engine supply contract.
However, the very public fall out with Renault and the cancellation by Red Bull of the contract to buy the French F1 power unit in 2016 has appeared to be rather chaotic.
Were Red Bull to simply breach the contract, a $75 million penalty was due, though it is unlikely the full amount of this will eventually be paid. Some kind of agreement must be found quickly given that an F1 manufacturer – such as Mercedes or Ferrari – cannot supply a team already under contract with another F1 engine manufacturer.
However, the termination of the relationship with Renault brings other financial implications for the F1 racing team owned by the fizzy drinks brand. ‘Total’ and Renault ‘partner’ brand ‘Infiniti’ are now set to terminate their contracts with Red Bull Racing worth some $80 million a year.
The German media are reporting this sponsorship money in 2016 will move across to the Lotus team assuming the acquisition by Renault has been completed.
This will finally see the end to the annual round of stories about Infiniti building an F1 engine – because ‘Infiniti Renault’ in the long term incrementally associates the Nissan-Renault Group’s luxury brand more directly with the engineering of power units.
Few will shed tears at Dietrich Mateschitz having to dig deep to replace the money’s lost to pursue his ambitions to once again dominate the so called pinnacle of global motorsport.
However, Red Bull look to be dead set on trying to prove that in marketing land – there’s no such thing as bad news; and all news is a positive repetition of the brand name.
Meanwhile Lotus survived an application for them to be placed into administration yesterday. It appears the possibility of Renault buying them caused Judge Birss to delay matters following an application for unpaid tax by the HMRC. However, Lotus must return on the Friday of the Singapore GP, where again if no progress on the sale to Renault is delivered – they face extinction again.
The court heard that Renault are prepared to buy a 65% stake in Lotus for $90 million, but the sticking point is Bernie Ecclestone’s refusal to grant them payments from the historic funds pot. This despite Renault being by some way the second most successful engine supplier to F1 of all time – together with 2 works team and 2 driver F1 titles.