We have all chewed the cud with the Red Bullies for months now about whom they may persuade to partner with them for 2016 as an engine supplier. The consensus has always been the fall back position for Dietrich Mateschitz would be to continue with Renault as a supplier of F1 engines for the final year of their contract.
Mercedes and Ferrari have refused point blank to supply the Milton Keynes based team, giving a plethora of suspect reasons. The reality is that both these manufacturers are frightened they will be beaten by an RB12 chassis with their engine in the back.
Honda are apparently ‘very interested,’ according to Christian Horner, however he admits that given Ron Dennis’ disposition towards the ‘Bulls’, a Honda Red bull tie up is most unlikely to happen.
This leaves Renault, as the only possible partner for Red Bull in 2016. There was a deadline of the 31st October where we were led to believe Red Bull would decide on whether to stay or leave Formula One. This has been and gone. Speaking to Speedweek last night, the fizzy drinks boss Mateschitz made it clear that Renault will not supply either of his Red Bull teams with power units next year. Further, Mateschitz is emphatic, “We have cancelled the contract [with Renault for 2016].”
As TJ13 reported a number of weeks ago, Renault had expressed an interest to Dieter Mateschitz in buying the RBR racing team, with some sort of phased ownership transfer taking place over 2-3 years. When asked were there any other options for RBR other than being a Renault customer in 2016, Christian Horner said in Mexico “there may be something else [available as an option].” Now, Mateschitz has said there is no way RBR will be sold to Renault, stating this course of action is “totally unthinkable.”
Dietrich Mateschitx also revealed he has extended the deadline for his teams remaining in Formula One by a less than precise, “3-4 weeks”. What can be achieved in that time given his absolute decisions regarding Renault is anyone’s guess. Mateschitz’s behavior is of someone who believes the FIA or Bernie can shake the tree and get him a different engine for next year other than one from Renault. However, given the recent use of the Ferrari veto over engine cost caps, neither Mr. E nor Mr. Todt appear capable of forcing either Mercedes or Ferrari into doing anything they do not wish to do.
As TJ13 observed yesterday, Mateschitz is presenting now as a deluded individual – refusing to face the fact that Renault is his only option for an engine next year for Red Bull Racing. In his Speedweek interview, he blames Renault for the collapse of the Red Bull/Renault relationship, implying it was their decision to buy a team which challenged Red Bull’s premier status which caused him to seek a parting of the ways.
All this is clearly designed to up the anti with FOM and the FIA, though at present, there appears a lack of urgency for anything to get done as everyone awaits the European Commission verdict into what many believe to be Formula One’s darkest hour.