Red Bull Racing little choice but to develop own F1 power unit


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.

13 responses to “Red Bull Racing little choice but to develop own F1 power unit

  1. Red bull just signed TAG and Siemens for sponsorship through 2018. Red bull does not need the cash – so sponsors coming in will be spending money on red bull for proper promotion and will have been sold on red bulls expected level of performance.

    They know what they know and we know the myths TJ13 makes up.

  2. all teams have sponsors and it is that money that funds the teams existence whether for engines whatever. the fact that infiniti are major sponsors matter little. if they weren’t getting value then they wouldn’t be there. they are a separate company although they have common chairman and a cross shareholding and they are promoting a nissan product, not a renault product. as for Total they are not owned by renault and again they are a separate sponsor. red bull are an independent customer of renault and they can and should be able to decide who sponsors them and not have that value traded off by a company who simply cannot build a competitive engine yet have the effrontery to charge 54 miilon euros for 2nd rate performance.

  3. This is a quote from Abiteboul:

    “The regulations are very clear in what they say,” he said. “It is one spec per manufacturer.There is still an opportunity to provide a previous season engine without any sort of development, but that is not what we are talking about for Red Bull.”

    Obviously talking about RBR further developing an engine they supply, it’s not going to happen unless they somehow got the rules changed.

    • I suspect they have a nod from Charlie the Power Unit – considering they are contributing significantly towards its assembly/manufacture and development will be deemed to be Red Bull’s or whoever’s name they assign to it.

  4. I’m afraid the suggestion that Red Bull could take an unbranded Renault unit and develop it in house is too fantastical to merit consideration.
    Renault is not going to allow their IP to be shared with a direct competitor. I just can’t see the basis for this story?
    Red Bull may indeed have to take an unbranded Renault unit but I doubt they will be altering its internals.

  5. Taking a Renault ICE and then put Ilien developed modifications, with Red Bull ERS could be a good idea for 2016 (if they can pull it off). But for 2017 there is no obligation for Renault to deliver a PU to Red Bull. What are the options (if any) to get the base PU from another factory and continue to integrate a complete PU themselves after 2016?

      • No it’s not against the regulations, lots of people keep saying this, BUT, there is a little catchall under New Engines, which says
        Any manufacturer intending to homologate a new power unit during the 2016-2020 period
        must provide the FIA with full details of the power unit on or before 28 February of the year of
        homologation. The FIA must be satisfied, at its absolute discretion, that such a power unit
        could fairly and equitably be allowed to compete with other homologated power units.

        Absolute discretion!

        • Yeah but there is that word “new” in there. I guess it does say PU and not ICE or breaking down even further block. So i guess the lawyers can battle over what exactly constitutes “new”.

    • Can RBR produce a working ERS over winter? It would have to be better than Renaults to be a good idea. That would b a coup if the drinks company could knock out an ERS that is harmonized and optimised better than Renaults. Working out of a back room in MK and producing MGUH, MGHK, ES, Turbo, exhaust and software over winter would teach Honda a lesson in ERS. Honda with the biggest budget in the world for hybrid research and development screwing the pooch after 2 years would be really regretting not asking RBR for an ERS for christmas.

      And in 2017 thy can simply take the ERS and graft it onto another manufacturers ICE, whoever said integration and works deals had any value when anyone can fit the ERS just like its a flexible wing


  6. Red Bull have paid for entry to the 2016 competition, So by definition they are not doubtful but willing and looking to be able. The signing up of sponsors for 2016 confirms this willingness. So this TJ13 ‘news’ likely originated in an over stimulate imagination and sets the tone for the rest of the article.
    And the article goes on to declare that Renaults only choice in this matter is to hand over its PU unbranded, unsupported and open source to allow RBR to modify and develop without recourse to Renault. Interestingly TJ13 seems to have omitted any reference to the ICE specialist Illien having produced proprietary ERS and turbo components in building 9, instead artfully glossing over the nature of any further work.
    So TJ13, that recently reliably and exclusively revealed that Illien had produced proprietary ERS and turbo components in area 9 is now convinced that it was all a big mistake and that the unbranded Renault kit is now a PU complete with ERS.
    Yet we know the alternate spec engine was shot down in flames but TJ13 would have us believe that a nod and a wink will be all thats required for RBR to show up with a ‘new’ PU for homologation alongside Renaults version?
    So I would to say that De Vries has been reliably informed by insider that McLaren will be using a new 2016 PU by Acura that has been developed without any token restrictions and is based on the existing 2015 Honda PU (ICE and ERS) and has been created in secret in the Atlantis situated underneath Honda City

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