The negotiations between Red Bull and Renault have become the story of the 2015 season. TJ13 revealed three weeks ago that RBR want to control their power unit development and are looking to take an ‘unbranded engine’ from Renault and develop it further during the 2016 season with the help of Mario Illien.
According to Red Bull’s ‘Speedweek’ publication, the contracts for this are in place with Renault and Mario Illien to deliver the unbranded engine, yet no announcement is forthcoming. The assumption is that the sticking point is over cash – Who pays who for what?
Red Bull claim they have been paying around 54 million euros for a Renault power unit this year, but Renault recently made it clear that Red Bull have been receiving around 100m from Renault sponsors Infiniti and Total. Any variation on the existing contract where Red Bull merely receive a Renault power unit lock stock and barrel will see the Milton Keynes team receive half the contribution Total and Infiniti have been making. Renault will receive the rest and increase their budget spend on the F1 power train.
In an article written prior to the F1 commissions failure to agree a new ‘budget engine’ Speedweek claimed, “If the alternative [budget] engine is not agreed for 2017, then the future of both Red Bull teams is in question for 2016”
Breaking!!! The F1 commission did not agree this and so Red Bull must again be considered by their own words as a doubtful entry for next years F1 competition.
Of course all this is posturing from Austria and Milton Keynes, though Speedweek bemoans the fact that each year 4-500m euro annual spend for both RBR and Toro Rosso flows into F1, whilst there is little chance they can compete without a Mercedes or Ferrai engine.
Given the death of the new ‘budget engine’, Renault must agree to Red Bull Racing taking from them the basics of a modern F1 power unit and developing it out in building 9 at Milton Keynes.
Speedweek claims any attempt by Red Bull to take a none branded engine and develop it for 2016 was merely a transitional proposition, and when the new ‘budget engine ‘ was agreed, this would be the focus of RBR. Clearly this is now a nonsense because the expense in year one for RBR to assemble a bastard V6 Turbo Hybrid – and then transition to the ‘new budget engine’, makes no sense from a cost perspective.
However the cat/dog/trout is skinned, RBR are looking to become an F1 power until manufacturer/assembler – though the ‘new budget engine’ being put on hold may be limiting the upper end of their expectations for success.