Mischievous Marchionne offers Red Bull an engine


The decision was made by Red Bull in 2014, to build their own F1 power unit in the future though denials from senior figures within the organisation were plentiful. In terms of definition, building their own power unit as TJ13’s has presented means that they are more than a customer PU team and own the process of delivering a power unit and its subsequent performance. This of course may involve sub-contracting out some of the production for components like a turbo for example, however, what is for certain is Newey will have some kind of input into all the engineering designs.

Red Bull were hoping one of the VW brands would partner with them from 2017 onwards, but set about constructing building 9 at their Milton Keynes site. Building 9 is at present an R&D and prototype manufacturing facility, and as TJ13 has reported contains a full sale automotive manufacturers AVL Virtual Test Track Rig. However, this facility will in the near future also have full production capabilities for certain PU components too.

Having decided that remaining in relationship with Renault was too painful, Red Bull hoped for a stop gap measure power unit supply from Mercedes. However, Red Bull failed to provide Mercedes with the assurances they required over marketing activities and so the deal was never concluded. Milton Keynes then turned toward Ferrari, who initially implied they were happy to supply the Red Bull family with 2016 power trains. Yet when push came to shove, Ferrari decided they only had capacity to supply one of the two bull teams.

In an apparent U-Turn of not insubstantial proportions, Ferrari appear to have discovered more capacity then they previously realised. Following the revelation from TJ13 that Red Bull were ‘building their own’ power train, Sergio Marchionne is now being most helpful.

Marchionne told a gathering at Finali Mondial in Mugello yesterday, “The possibility of collaborating with Red Bull on the development of the power unit is still a valid option, I again wish to re-affirm that, but this would not see Ferrari providing Red Bull with an equivalent engine to the one used by Ferrari in the [F1] races”. Marchionne explains, “We are willing to offer engineering and production services for an engine in a separate project for Red Bull, where Ferrari would commit to providing its  best in terms of engineering and give the chance to Red Bull and other manufacturers to have these engines.

Just to ensure the point is clear, Sergio restates the position: “But they cannot be the same Ferrari engines that race on our cars.”

The Ferrari boss is still clearly sensitive over the criticism he has received for using the Ferrari veto to block the FIA and FOM from capping the cost charged by F1 power unit manufacturers to customer teams. Marchionne is clear, Ferrari will not “finance other teams” at the behest of anyone.  Sergio states that Ferrari cannot share what is fundamentally its DNA – because this means “we would create our own competition.”

Red Bull Racing were set to announce the supply of an ‘unbranded’ engine from Renault this weekend, however, this didn’t happen. It would be easy to assume this delay is due to Red Bull now entering discussions with Ferrari for an engine block, however more probably this is just Sergio Marchionne making mischief with Red Bull. Further, as TJ13 revealed last week, Red Bull are well under way with development work on top of the Renault engine block as Mario Illien has designed and manufactured a prototype new cylinder head for the Renault F1 ICE block – which is good to go.

Red Bull’s 2016 PU: Putting the pieces together

24 responses to “Mischievous Marchionne offers Red Bull an engine

    • fortis, I love the site and here’s why: the judge is a story teller. This is what the RB PU was, a nice story and it made quite a few people chuckle. Disclaimer: in 2017 maybe, but next year? Who on earth will manufacture it even if they had an internal design? The prototyping building is in no ay sized to build an ICE (maybe to assemble). I read Mr Machionne’s statement as to “we will give them access to our CNC mills so they can build their engine and we can look at what they concoct”

  1. none of this speculation makes any sense.given the original ‘scoop’ where it was all about red bull and renault with the renault block forming the foundation of a ‘hybrid RB PU’, it must be assumed that the ‘skunkwork’ carried out in building 9 was one of integration. i can only assume that this would now all be shelved, if not forever,in the short term as the ferrari config would render the prior work useless? as for the original talk of a red bull statement over the weekend came to zip it seems as though no one really knows what is happening hence the speculation, and those that do are not talking.

    • There’s no speculation here. Ferrari have just offered their services as a sub-contractor to Red Bull for the building of an ‘RBR’ designed power unit. This goes some way to confirming THE BIG NEWS TJ13 brought last week – about the direction Red Bull has decided to go on PU’s – ie to design their own.

  2. You say this now:
    ”’Further, as TJ13 revealed last week, Mario Illien has already designed for Red Bull a new cylinder head for the Renault F1 ICE block – which is good to go.”’
    We knew Illien poposed an alternative cylinder head which was rejected by Renault many months ago, the rececent exclusive revelation was that building 9 had produced the ERS anciliaries ready to be harmonized with the Renault block plus Illien head.
    TJ13 assured us that:
    ”’However, for descriptive purposes it is the lower part of the ICE, or the block, is for now the component that remains as Renault’s contribution. The Renault engine block will form the core of the RBR PU. Additional components developed by RBR include a new cylinder head, turbo, CE, MGU-K and MGU-H units all of which will then require ‘harmonisation.’””

    So do RBR have their own ERS and turbo ready to graft onto the Renault block or not? TJ13 also informed of us this previously;

    ”’Red Bull Racing running a Ferrari engine will almost certainly find themselves repeatedly behind the Maranello team, week in week out.

    It also would be impossible for Red Bull to have commissioned/developed an F1 power unit that would be competitive in 2016 – despite the goings on in the secret building 9 with its 40 strong staff and full size Virtual Test Track.

    The travails of Honda surely demonstrate the difficulty of building a competitive V6 hybrid F1 engine; and despite the Red Bull recruitment of Mario Illien of Ilmor fame – a competitive bespoke power unit in the next few years looks to be a bridge too far for any new entrant.””’

    Could be some eggs on faces at Illiens or RBRs soon

    • If RBR were to go down this route then they can design the Turbo and get a company like Honeywell to manufacture it for them. Same goes with the ERS, they can design it and sub contract the manufacturing to another company with the requisite skill. You only have to look at how McLaren’s gone about it’s road car business to see just how much they design and then sub contract the manufacturing of various components before assembling a car at it’s purpose built factory. McLaren could in theory build it’s own PU, but the costs would be prohibitive, hence big Ron banging on about needing to be a works team for one of the manufacturers to be ahead of teams that are merely customers.

      • The ERS is not like KERS or like a Turbo that can be designed and built just like that. Why do you think Honda, Renault and Ferrari did not get it right first time after years of preparation yet a bunch of fizzy drinks makers are gonna put it all together in shed 9 in time for Xmas. Remember the problems RBR had with Kers, now imagine Danny Ricc saying ‘we will take any engine we get’
        Lets all think hard about this before letting rip

        • Ferrari worked with Honeywell on the Turbo from 2014, hence why I mentioned them aka Red Bull have options on outsourcing parts –

          If what TJ13 and others have been reporting is accurate, Red Bull have been working on an ERS system for quite some time now. Will a rushed power unit be any good ? Probably not. But it seems they have little choice. That or they will accept a 2015 Ferrari PU or shove enough cash at McLaren to get a Honda PU or leave the sport.

          There really isn’t a lot of wriggle room for Red Bull now. Whatever choice they make they probably won’t make it to the first test. Even with say a Ferrari PU they will have to do a lot of work redesigning next seasons car to ensure they have adequate cooling then that has a knock on effect to the aero.
          2016 will either be a season to forget for Red Bull or no Red Bull at all.

  3. TJ13, thanks for the response and your latest commentary but the big news simply hasn’t got any legs at the moment. other sites are quoting your scoop and mark hughes is sorta doing the same but there has been nothing concrete put out there that would stand up to scrutiny, nothing whatsoever. all i’m saying is that without any credible confirmation it is all a lot of pure speculation. if it comes to pass then you will be able to bask in the ongoing adulation of all and sundry but if it appears to be…… then so be it.

  4. Is anyone seriously thinking that Red Bull takes on Ferrari’s offer? I hope not because to me this all seems as one gigantic CYA (Cover Your Ass) operation from Ferrari. Last week Mercedes was reportedly willing to entertain the FIA and FOM by listening to their requests for cheaper engines and now Marchionne realizes that it might be wise to play nice before the EU anti competition agency comes along and asks F1 how it is possible that 2 engine manufacturers determine who can play along with their little sport of racing fast cars every other Sunday. Both Ferrari and Mercedes have done everything in their power to prevent having to provide Red Bull with engines and now that Red Bull is at the point of building their own engines, making them independent from the clutches of Mercedes and Ferrari, they start to realize that they might have followed a tactic that brings more problems than just a more difficult to beat competitor on track. Red Bull’s engine problems have not only forced Mercedes and Ferrari to be open about their reasons to not supply Red Bull but it also forced Red Bull to introduce their own engine, this whole process have laid bear a lot of what is wrong with F1’s governance structure and the EU anti competition agency must have been watching with a great big smile and secretly thank Red Bull for doing the work for them. Is it too late for Mercedes and Ferrari to fix their mistakes or are they just in time?

  5. Is this the new caring, sharing, altruistic Marchionne or has the leopard not changed his spots and is just tring to throw a spanner in the works? The offer sounds like the ‘too little to late’ variety to me.

  6. I think this is Ferrari assisting Red Bull in their negotiations with Renault. i.e. IF Red Bull had the option of Ferrari building components (maybe bottom end of engine) then Renault are not holding them over a barrel. I think maybe Ferrari are feeling a little bit embarrassed at Todd making it public that they used their veto. So they are ‘offering’ some manufacturing help. That way no one can say Ferrari didn’t offer to help Red Bull 🙂

  7. Sounds like Ferrari want to partner with RB so they can get their paws on the new Red Bull ERS technology designed by a certain engine guru.

    • New Red Bull ERS tech? the only place this is mentioned is on this site. The engine guru is an ICE guru, the ERS gurus are at Merc, Ferrari and Honda. Building the ICE is not the genius part, integrating competitive ERS (MGU-H mainly) within a PU is the part the big bucks are paid for. RBR couldnt even get the simple MGU-K(KERS) working well. Yet we think RBR created a modular ERS and turbo that is competitive and will be ready for 2016 (or even 2017)?
      And we think RBR have produced this technology in secret and Ferrari want it?
      If a certain engine guru is an ERS guru why is he not at Merc HPE instead of the extra staff added to the original Illmore team at Merc?

  8. Nice temporary solution for RBR to ousource the componants that RBR cannot produce them selves. Untill they get their facilaties are up to it.

    That is if this is really the way RBR are going. That will i think be sorted after Brazil where the upgraded spec wil run in one (ricciardos) car and possibly even two cars. So that Renault can evaluate what the gains are and if that ICE is a good enough base to stay in F1 because i think there is still a possibility that Renault wil give it up as a bad job an call it quits. A while back a renault guy was quoted saying ‘we have enough tokes but no ideas’ .

    what ever will be will be!

  9. “Further, as TJ13 revealed last week, Red Bull are well under way with development work on top of the Renault engine block as Mario Illien has designed and manufactured a prototype new cylinder head for the Renault F1 ICE block – which is good to go.”

    Mario Illien denied working on a new version of the Renault engine.

    • Mario didn’t deny anything, this is his direct quote “I know nothing of a dispute. I also have no idea what upgrades Renault has incorporated in its modified engine. I cannot imagine that a large company like Renault [would] secretly install my development.”

      So Mario hasn’t denied anything, in fact he has confirmed that (at least at some stage) he has worked on a separate design but is under the impression Renault are not using it/rejected it.

  10. “as TJ13’s has presented”, “and as TJ13 has reported”, “Following the revelation from TJ13”, “Further, as TJ13 revealed last week”

    I think we’re getting the picture here… 😉

  11. Very interesting TJ13.

    My understanding is that red bull are at max capacity of the floor space in Milton Keynes.

    The Building 9 that you mention which will contain the virtual test track and future PU area, is it in the same vicinity of the rest of the red bull complex at Milton Keynes or is it located elsewhere?

    Is Building 9 the vacant sensetsu green building next door to building 7/red bull technology main building?

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