TAG Heuer finally revealed as Red Bull 2016 engine label


Red Bull Racing are a dream for Dietrich Mateschitz fizzy drinks empire. Even when having the poorest year for on track results since 2008, the Milton Keynes outfit maximises the marketing of the Red Bull brand by consistently being the story everyone is writing about.

Just over two weeks ago it was announced that TAG Heuer would be severing their 30 year relationship with Mclaren and moving their F1 sponsorship to be associated with the ‘cool’ and ‘youthful’ Red Bull brand. One week earlier, Red Bull had signed the deal for the supply of certain components for their 2016 power unit, which as TJ13 revealed some time ago will be sourced in part from Renault and combined with Red Bull designed and constructed elements. The direction of the power unit development in 2016 will be controlled by Red Bull.

The following cheeky tweet emanated from the Red Bull HQ this morning which shows Swiss watchmakers studying the engine in the rear of a Red Bull car with the by line – “Swiss engineering to close the gap next season.”



TAG Heuer will almost certainly now be the brand Red Bull label their 2016 power unit. Though unlike when TAG paid Porsche’s costs to build the engine for multi title winning McLaren cars of the 1980’s, much of the Swiss companies contribution will be used in developing Red Bull’s own PU facility.

Of course, going it alone on the power unit development programme will mean Red Bull have no one but themselves to blame if it all goes spectacularly wrong. However, to attempt such a programme is remarkable and if Milton Keynes pull this off, there may be a number of rather red faces in Maranello and Stuttgart.

The irony of Red Bull’s new F1 engine brand

71 responses to “TAG Heuer finally revealed as Red Bull 2016 engine label

  1. Well predicted thejudge, you were right it was Tag not Nissan. I think the FIA clarified their position re 1 homologated PU per engine manufacturer. So how are Red Bull ‘developing the PU’ and controlling the development direction of the Renault PU?
    Unless this is one of the reason Bernie and Todd have been given power to over ride things????

    • The two who undertook this their second hurdle after their first one fell flat on its face will have to rewrite the rules/regulations for what TG13 is claiming to materialise.

        • So are you asserting that the rules have been changed to allow PU modification by teams as opposed to manufacturers? This would basically remove the homologation requirement for the PU and open up the entire area of engine/electric modification. How would the ‘token’ system be enforced? What exactly would be the requirement for homologation, if it even existed anymore? I find it difficult to believe Ferrari wouldn’t veto something like this.

          • @ The Judge. That’s a good question. My reading of the rules at the start of the 2015 season led me (foolishly I will admit) to believe that there could be only one spec for an engine and that all engines, whether in a team or customer car, had to be the same homologated unit. That obviously went by the wayside but I believe the homologation rule still exists and is just being ignored. We now know in-season modification will be allowed in 2016 and the token limit was adjusted up to 35 (please correct me if I’m wrong). Frankly there don’t seem to be any constraints now; it’s open season. I still wonder, however, whether modification of an engine by someone other than the manufacturer is legal. If Red Bull do build a PU using the Renault engine as the base I could very easily see protests re legality, especially if it works.

          • The only homologation by each of the original three V6 Turbo Hybrid PU manufacturers units was prior to 28/2/14 – and a year later for Honda. There has been none since.

            In reality, each token upgraded engine lodged with the FIA is a new homologation – the FIA does not define homologation in the regs, but in its loosest form means ‘certified approved.’

            Interestingly the WMSC confirmed a change in the regulations yesterday which stated, “Power Units homologated in previous seasons may now be re-homologated”. `

            The WMSC also said that they will now allow PU manufacturer’s to homologate more than one specification of PU. This was not allowed previously.

            So for example, this opens the door to Renault’s PU being developed in different directions. Due to the regs it may be Renault for now have to be the designated the ‘manufacturer’.

          • @Gomer, you may be aware….one reason for running engines of varying development across customer teams is lack of funds for teams to modify aero and chassis to accommodate changed iterations.

          • @ The Judge. So, effectively, if one can homologate any iteration of the PU there is actually no homologation at all, as each step is legal. Nice rules; why even bother?

            @ Peter. A more important reason may be that it would be very difficult to supply a team and other customers with identical engines; that would be a manufacturing and logistical nightmare.

          • And further, how will the ‘token’ system be enforced? For example, if Renault ‘spends’ all their available tokens upgrading the turbo, can a customer who modifies the engine (RBR) accept the new modified engine and then modify it further, ‘spending’ their own tokens? Will the customer have tokens to ‘spend’? The mind boggles.

          • @Gomer, don’t go there. Why should you?
            If a power unit manufacturer with their own team competing in the championship can’t supply their latest iteration across the board to all customers, they should be prohibited from running it until they can comply. Simples!

          • But, Peter, in the 2015 season they didn’t supply the same iteration. There was no consequence. Rules, I guess, are made to be ignored. I distinctly remember Mercedes, for example, stating that they would not be supplying the latest engine to their contracted teams. Thus???

  2. Considering the budget of RBR this could work out very well for them, it is just the case of getting the correct people involved with their PU. They must have faith in major parts of the ICE from Renault. Hopefully they will be the surprise of next year, giving RBR the opportunity to becoming an engine supplier (Road cars next??)
    Good luck to them.


    • Tag Heuer watches are no where near the Rolex price or Quality. The add simply states an association between the LVMH brand and Red Bull. There is no announcements of any engine branding. There is many a slip between cup and lip….

  3. I want to see Red Bull and McLaren Split ALL wins and podiums next year! Wow, wouldn’t that be a slap in the face of Toto, Marchione, “The NEW and improved Senna” (Hamilton), the comedian (Vettel), ALL THE ENGLISH PRESS! Please Honda and Red Bull, please, make this happen!

  4. I think it was author John LeCarre who wrote “In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” I hope to see cuckoo clocks aplenty around the red bull garage next year. I the meantime I will dust off my circa 1970 Heuer Autavia Chronograph with caliber 11 movement. I don’t think that TAG ever bettered that one! In the BBC documentary about Graham Hill he is clearly seen to be sporting one of these.

  5. So will those who mocked you’re breaking story that Red Bull would be using an unbranded Renault PU with Super Mario peripherals next season comeback and say, “I’m sorry Judge, you were correct?”

    • Bless you Fortis. But fame, glory and recognition is not what I seek. Just to humbly serve the fans – and wind people up a tad here and there 😉 – of the glorious and farcical sport we love so dearly.

        • I’m pretty sure I’ve supported this story on this website and every other website I post. You know the ones you wont tell me your name? why cant we be friends on the other sites 🙂

          I’ve also supported Red Bull since day 1 – am more than aware of their technology presence and know they are a threat to any team when it comes to technology development.

          I’ve never once slammed this site for breaking this news story and as a new comer to this site i’ve also held off other F1 outlets negative views of TJ13.



          We still dont know whats going on and we are still waiting for TJ13s story to be confirmed. Personally I wont take unbranded PU’s as confirmation and will feel more than misled. However if it is ONLY unbranded ICE’s that RB are using as launch pad for PU development then where do i donate money TJ13?

          • There’s no wordsmithing around this one… I think you’re going to have to take one on the chin. 😉

            Happens to the best of us.

            The Judge, well, he’s a benevolent Judge and loves all his website commenter children – illegitimate or otherwise.

            He’s too “Britishy” to force feed anyone humble pie – though a swift judicial kick in the meatballs is not uncommon. Have had the pleasure once or twice myself, long ago in land far, far away…

            I found it rather erotic, to be frank. But then again, the whole “Dom / Sub” thing was at play and it had the synapses firing dopamine around the ol’ grey matter.

            Annnnyyyyywayyyy… point is, there are rare opportunities to show character.

          • Totally agree with your statement regarding RBR’s tech presence.
            They are one crack team.

  6. Had to chuckle at that ad…didn’t swiss also make a chocolate fire gaurd at one point? Heyho,time will tell and we will soon know if RB can squash the troubles of the Renault motor

    • This will be intersecting if RBR can, Renault will be red faced. Also Renault can’t use any of what they saw/Illien’s IP of the new engine – well not with out paying for it, which I don’t believe Renault will.

  7. paradoxically McLaren can’t get any title sponsor for few years now. Red Bull are going to have TWO ! TAG Heuer and Infinity. Well done Christian, well done

  8. This is for 2016. 2017 is a different matter. I think we might find that Porsche will be beavering away in the background (hand in hand with RBR) to take over the engine supply for RBR in 2017. They will be using technical expertise gained from their WEC winning 2.0 litre V4 as the concept for a 1.6 litre V6. RBR will be paying the bills.

      • Yes, TAG will be paying the engine development bills. Likely it will cost Porsche nothing. That’s why Horner has said 2016 will be a “transitional year”. In 2007, Porsche will be replacing the Renault elements (ICE) and incorporating the Redbull/Illien elements with Redbull supplying the energy recovery and battery units. This effectively creates a whole new engine.

      • If VAG team up with RBR in the near future, and I still believe its a fairly large if, why is the media centered on Audi or Porsche as the brand which will represent VAG?



        I feel that if the VAG dream of entering F1 is still alive, it may well be based on abandoning their ‘green’ diesel markeeting and after the deiselgate is over rebuilding the brand with hybrid tech and F1.

        • Really, if you were someone in charge at VAG (tee-hee), which brands would you be looking at promoting? Bugatti doesn’t really need the marketing for the kind of thing they’re selling, Lamborghini maybe if they felt the need to put themselves directly up against the likes of Ferrari (why?).

          But really, the biggest bang for their buck is likely to be brands like Audi, Porsche, or just plain’ ol’ VW. For one, there’s no even remotely “accessible” Lamborghini to sell, whereas the likes of VW and Audi, and to a slightly lesser degree Porsche, do have such models. VW isn’t really seen as a performance brand of that sort though, and trying to pass it off as a Skoda or something would just be taking the piss. No one would buy that for a second, and the message you’re spending millions on would just get lost in the farce of it all. So Audi or Porsche would be the more likely candidates.

  9. TJ13… have you heard any rumblings of the 2017 Red Bull Honda team?

    If this is true then you’re original story would turn out to be a bit off, no way would red bull invest in developing their own ERS for only 1 year….

    James Allen has said it will be Honda in 2017 – this would mean RB are purchasing the entire unbranded PU from renault this year and not just ICE.

    • I can assure you the Mario Illien cylinder head Red Bull paid £2million for will be fitted toute suite to the Renault PU – and that’s just for starters. Honda have been to Milton Keynes and visited building 9. However, so have folk from Audi – pre VW scandal – and a number of parties RB have sought to collaborate with.personnel

      • I have heard this also. But I understand a version of the deal with VW (Porsche actually), is back on, because it will cost them nothing, and they already have a level of expertise. I don’t know if anything will be named “Porsche”, of it they will carry the “TAG” name beyond this year. But it certainly will not be Renault beyond 2016. I also understand that Max Verstappen driving for Redbull in 2017 has played a part in this.

        • If Red Bull pull off this role of PU designer/assembler/producer of an F1 PU, then they can collaborate in the future with Honda, Porsche whoever…. to supply parts for their PU programme. However it eventually turns out, Red Bull want to control their own PU destiny. They will not abdicate their PU programme any time soon to any one else.

          • That is exactly right. If they can make a success of this, they can sell the naming rights of the engine to anyone (at a whopping price). If they own the technology, they could sell the name to any non-aligned manufacturer who want a presence in F1 (Volvo, Audi, Hyundai, Ford etc). As long as the technology is first rate, the actual name of the engine is irrelevant except for marketing purposes.

        • Back on may not be such a surprise.
          The cheating emission scandal seems to have found some creative fixes that are relatively simple. And cheap.
          All that needs to be done now is smooth ruffled feathers.

      • I’m sorry but when 2 million dollars regardless if it’s USD or EU or any other currency is thrown around as justification as the only thing as fact is BS! 2 million anything in F1 is worthless and using 2-10 million as justification for speculation with regards to a team like RB constitutes at minimum gross negligence on behalf and supplier.

        We are talking about pathetic numbers with respect to a team like red bull. If they want to spend a billion on a PU they will. They won’t ask permission, they won’t tell a competitor, they won’t say a thing.

        Your storytelling which implicates RB In the development of a privately funded PU has no more legitimacy now as the day it was not published.

  10. Being brutally honest here:

    I first found your page as you broke the story Red Bull is going to have an engine next year. My initial thought was “That’s gotta be made up”. But as time progressed and even more pieces of the puzzle came together it seemed pretty likely to happen. If now not only you were correct in predicting the name of the unbranded Renault powering the Red Bull next season, but also by breaking the story of a modified PU you’ll become my go to source for F1 related news.

    Suck it Michael Schmidt!

  11. I too am interested in the slight conflict regarding the details.. some sources say Ilien works for and under Renault and renault will provide both renault works and rb with the same goodies. noone is indicating that RB will supply and develop any anciliaries or that illien is just helping RB, nor RB and RS will develop in different directions. not that i care that much about journalistic ‘size comparisons’ but we readers like to know who is really in the know, i guess!

    • So RB had a contract for Renault power units for 2015. They have spent months renegotiating this deal. Cyril Abiteboul said any new deal would see Red Bull getting half the cash from Infiniti and Total who are Renault sponsors.

      Some of this deficit is being made up by TAG Heuer and hey presto – Red Bull end up just taking a Renault PU as they would under their original contract????

      • Sounds like tj13 may have got his robes in a knot. Definitely not the sort of language I would expect to hear during sentencing.

        Anyway are you suggesting Mario is working with Renault and is having no input at all in RBRs engine being built in Building 9?

    • The two PU’s will be different. Why would RB take a 50% cut in revenue from Renault sponsors Total/Infiniti – when they could have just enforced the original contract and had the same PU as Renault will be developing for their own car. TAG Heuer at best back fills the lost revenue from Total.

      • I would like to see RB developing the PU separately but Dr Marko was quoted yesterday and as I understood it he said that Renault and RB will use the same spec in 2016. He also said that RB hope to have a new PU option for 2017 but if Renault did a good job on development it might not be needed, So Either RB will do their own development or Dr Marko has it wrong or is misleading us. Wouldn’t be the first time I suppose.

  12. Okey doke makes sense – so where is the RB autonomy of development? Or are they sucking it up for a year hoping a Super Mario Renault does a decent job or blaming X* if it sucks , and then do something more under their control 2017, like cheap ice only engine..???? < obligatory question marks!
    *X to be decided at the time.

    • Let’s see next year who is blaming who for which particular components of the PU. There was never going to be an announcement that embarrassed Renault, but the PU in the RB12 will be different from that in the Renault-Nissan, or whatever it is called.

      • This is untrue, RBR will be running the exact same spec as the renault works team. There is no building 9 thing with IImore etc. A quote from Marko Helmut

        “We will have Renault power units at the same level as the factory team,” …. “Mario Illien will co-operate with his Ilmor company as a consultant with Renault to help development. He does it on behalf of Renault in Viry-Chatillon.”

        I think it’s time you admit your original story is wrong.

  13. So Red Bull are paying a shit load more for a years supply of engines ( more than the original contract) Ilmor and Renault are actually partners, not Red Bull and Ilmor. Seems to me Red Bull have been shafted royally. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here for them.
    On the plus side though, its great to see the Enstone boys and girls all have a job for the for longtime future.

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