Different Renault and Red Bull engines for 2016?


 “I never made a mistake in my life; at least, never one that I couldn’t explain away afterwards.” ― Rudyard Kipling, Under The Deodars

Christian Horner would now have us believe that almost two years of civil war between Red Bull and its quadruple world title winning engine partner was merely a calculated move to catch the eye of the Renault main board – who were too ‘distant’ from the goings on in their F1 engine division. Horner tells Speedweek that unlike Mercedes’ Dieter Zetsche and Ferrari’s Sergio Marchionne, Carlos Ghosn has appeared disinterested because unlike his counterparts, he has been mostly absent from the F1 arena.

When asked whether his public criticism of Renault has played well with the public, Horner replied, “I think they were finally told the truth from both sides. Of course it’s never good to run your business this way in public, but it was born out of frustration”.

The Red Bull team principal argues his comments over Renault’s commitment to the new V6 Turbo Hybrids were appropriate. “This is a competitive business. And as far as I’m concerned, I’ve always told the truth. And if you look at what I said, I do not think my comments were unfair.”

Earlier this year, Red Bull engaged the services of Mario Illien for around £2 million to design a new cylinder head for the Renault F1 internal combustion engine. This was subsequently tested in their Milton Keynes facility on a newly acquired AVL rig, along with other aspects of the power unit. Despite the alleged 30-40Bhp performance improvement with the new Illien cylinder head fitted, Renault bosses in Viry decided to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ to their partner and the sub-contracted Mario Illien.

Illien and his prior association with Mercedes powered F1 engines, presumably meant he was considered the ‘enemy’ by the senior management in Viry.

Horner confirms this stating, “Initially, there was resistance to include Mario. It was not the smoothest relationships between Milton Keynes and Viry, and from this arose the frustration.” Christian adds that Renault’s refusal to accept Red Bull as a ‘full-fledged’ technical partner saw the relationship taken to the brink.

Red Bull had an existing contract for F1 power unit supply for 2016 with Renault. This included the full sponsorship from Infiniti and Total which Milton Keynes could have enforced. However, both parties have agreed to tread a different path. Red Bull are widely reported to be naming their 2016 power unit Heuer, though at present the entry list for next year published by the FIA has the Milton Keynes teams’ engine name as ‘TBA’.

Writing for Motorsportmagazine.com, Mark Hughes recently confirmed, that Renault and Red Bull will run different ICE’s next in 2016. “Both are Renault based,” but Hughes explains, “the Illien development will be the foundation of the Red Bull engine.”

Hughes also makes it clear, the two power units will have “different combustion philosophies AND different ERS systems. Red Bull had already been manufacturing key parts of this system for Renault.”

The big question is whether Red Bull Racing become a power unit manufacturer for 2016? If so they must homologate their PU before 28th February 2016, and will be allowed just 15 development tokens for 2016.

Yet Fans have debated whether Red Bull Racing will actually be allowed to take what is effect the engine block from Renault and ‘build their own engine.’

Renault have also added to the confusion by stating recently that “Ilmor, like other contractors AVL, Mechachrome and Magneti Marreli will work directly for and under Renault.”

This appears to shut down the Red Bull PU development programme, given that Illien is now working for Renault. However, in the recent F1 2016 sporting regulations, an insertion was made for next year which states: “Other than any parts agreed by the FIA at their absolute discretion to be solely associated with power unit installation with different teams, each manufacturer may supply only one specification of homologated power unit during any given calendar year…”

This clause allows a manufacturer to submit more than one specification of power unit for homologation. The previous version of the sporting regulations was absolute on this matter. Appendix 4.2, “A manufacturer may homologate no more than one specification of power unit”.

Of course the legal speak of the FIA regulation does offer itself open to differing interpretations. However, one thing is clear, as Christian Horner states, the Red Bull hullabaloo has forced changes – one of which sees them lose the 50 million they receive from the Renault associated sponsor Infiniti.


37 responses to “Different Renault and Red Bull engines for 2016?

  1. As far as I know the rule has been tweeked to allow engines from the previous year, so STR can run with 2015 Ferrari engines and the other teams with 2016 Ferrari engines, which fulfils the one specification per year clause.
    They can still homologate only one specification for 2016 and not two different versions of a 2016 power unit.

    • that is covered specifically in App 4.6 “Any manufacturer who homologated a power unit during the 2014-2020 period may also apply to the FIA to re-use such a power unit in a given team, to the same specification, and without going through the re-homologation process described above. 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”.

      Whilst we at times question the rhyme and reason of the FIA ramblings called regs – the positioning of 4.4 would suggest this is not relating to prior year engines.

  2. I don’t see what Red Bull has changed that is to their benefit, now or in the future. On top of the $50 mill they lost the factory team status. I haven’t read anything that convinces me Red Bull are about to become PU manufacturers. Illien has signed contracts with Renault (as I understand it) and it is unlikely, with Renault having bought a team, that the development work he does will be available to Red Bull unless it is in a Renault PU.

    • It really depends on the contracts. Illen’s contract will state who owns the IP that he creates! I remember a few months ago reading about contracts not being signed yet due to IP issues. So I guess it’s all down to the contracts……

  3. Total BS, the red bullies will be powered by Renault engine, any work illien does is done and belongs to Renault, illien contract is with Renault as is any work he does, it is Renault who decides the use of illien’s work or not, ERS components will be supplied and installed by Renault as per the regulations.

      • Admit TG13 is a better F1 site, one of the beat, but speculation means the same whichever the site, although TG13 is most of the time more right then wrong then other sites are.

    • Exactly right, RBR have already confirmed this. RBR are running an unmodified re-badged Renault PU. Illien is contracted to Renault not to RBR.

      • Yep 110% sure as the information comes straight from not one but two RBR employees. RBR are a chassis manufacturer, never have been a PU manufacturer and never will be. Renault where never going to just hand over their PU and allow RBR to modify it and potentially beat them. All this building 9 engine factory is a complete and made up myth.

        • ….Oh??? The planning application (address and all) made by RB for ‘building 9’ with its new underground floors/sound proofing requirements have been posted here.

          • I’m sorry, but since when is a random building with sound surpression any proof that they are going to build their own PU? I reiterate: a company near where I life has made the same application. Do they build a strand of the Renault PU? No they build boilers. Nowadays local, national and even international regulations require for almost every kind of manufacturing that your building has materials included to surpress decibels. Red Bull might just as well be building a chassis workshop there.

            I also like to point out it’s currently an application as far as I know (feel free to correct me on that if it actually is standing there). Means it’s not even yet under construction. Tell me how they are supposed to build PUs, or even parts of a PU, between now and February, in a building that does not yet exist.

            Maybe, perhaps maybe, it’s a different thing in 2017. But for next year, the only reason we are seeing this kind if articles, is out of stubborness. Atleast you gave yourself a deadline; by the end of February we’ll know.

          • It must have been for this: “…, a new super-simulator went online at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes headquarters recently. In one room, the driver works on the simulator while next door an actual car on rollers – including engine, transmission and tyres – is operating thanks to groundbreaking EUR 30 million technology.”

  4. I admit to being confused by all this. It may be that Dr Marko is also confused since I believe he said that Renault and Red Bull would use the same spec power unit in 2016 and if progress were good they (RB) would not need to go elsewhere for 2017. Marko did not have to say anything so I ask myself why would he, DM’s right hand, man say something that was not true unless he was just mistaken. I do not see the point in Renault contracting Ilien unless they have decided to embrace his design ideas. The idea that Renault would countenance separate development streams and risk being embarrassed by a ‘superior’ TAG Heuer PU seems just too perverse. Maybe we just have to see what happens at testing next year and hope to have better information by then. Having said that I do hope it is true that RB have control over their PU development since it might be the only path to competing with Mercedes in future but I’m not yet convinced.

    • As far as Renault are concerned there is no way that the red bullies will have any control of the engine supplied to them by Renault, regardless the watch stickers stuck on the valve covers.
      “When red bull wins red bull great, when red bull loose Renault shit, we will show them”. Carlos Ghosn.
      Renault really got the red bullies by the proverbial balls, and that firm hold is still on and ready to squeeze when the need is felt.

    • I feel you, Carlos, but I also wonder at the idea of Renault admitting they are keen on allowing an outsider have key input into PU / ICE design at the behest of a customer – a severe kick in the head for their engineers. High stakes either way for Renault.

      The best Renault could hope for would be to turn it all over to Mario & co and for it to be a disaster. I’d like to see Horner explain that one.

      Also, it’d be funny / awkies if the taken-over Lotus team still has a MB engine contract and the “new” Renault team insist on following through with it in 2016 for legitimate-if-harsh data gathering. MB would look pretty silly.

      • Interesting point RogerD. We have been assuming that Mario is some sort of spanner wielding genius with the Midas Touch. If he were to turn out just to be an average Joe then they may all be doomed. However, RB seem to believe that Mario’s heads gave 30 to 40 BHP and if they can do that on a legal fuel flow and stop the ‘knock’ problem, then with a decent MGU-H they could be something like competitive. It seems that Renault do need help from someone since they seem to have admitted that their PU went down a development blind alley. I hope that Mario is the man – I really want to see someone take the fight to Mercedes.

        • If TJ13 is correct, then Marios heads are nothing compared to the ERS he has knocked up in building 9. As we all know, going by TJ13s insider scoops, the ICE is just the core of the PU. Renault dont have issues with making combustion engines.
          Nope, its the ERS part that brings the real performance, and if Mario can find an extra 40 bhp just by redesigning the head, then the complete ERS he has knocked up for Red Bull in building 9 is bound to give Merc a real kicking. After all with he has been producing it in secret for at least months since TJ13 exclusively revealed the existence of building 9 and the skunkworks Red Bull ERS
          I think Merc are going to be shocked when Red Bull rock up to the grid with their Tag Illien PU
          They should have just read TJ13 exclusives like we do and would therefore be better prepared for the Red Bull onslaught thats about to be unleashed

  5. So TJ13 was correct all this time, Red Bull have their own PU complete with Illien built head and ERS. And the regs now say you can rehomologate a previous PU and treat it like a brand new engine. So STR will probably use Ferraris 2015 PU and add their ERS to it for another seperate engine.
    Despite what Renault, Marko and Horner say Red Bull will have 2 new PUs of their own.
    Well done TJ13 for breaking the news of Red Bulls secret ERS months before anyone else, in fact they are still all running with the wrong news that Renault will supply the same PU

    • Zcurrent, Keep dreaming. I well remember the one-half size red bullies KERS system they came out with and their 2014 ERS system and the problems they both created, the ERS apart from infringing the regulations on all Renault engine cars on the grid was also something that they have nothing to brag about.

      • If TJ13 is right then Red Bull will reveal their new ERS soon and confirm that it was knocked up in building 9 by Illien as exclusively revealed by TJ13 who has a source inside Red Bull.
        Obviously Horner and Marko are not in the loop as they are wrongly under the impression that they will be using Renaults PU. Any day now TJ13s source, who is probably Mateshitz himself will reveal the Red Bull PU that uses a Renault ICE IP and has cutting edge ERS designed in their own Skunkworks secret building.
        This is why no one else is reporting this as they dont have the inside contacts TJ13 has

    • No TJ13 is completely wrong on this. RBR are running the exact same PU as the factory Renault team will be.

  6. Question:
    Toro Rosso will have 2015 Ferrari engines. Will these be developed during next year? By Whom?

      • Your interpretation is the most logical, for Red Bull to have a seperate development path, as discovered by TJ13, then they must be aiming to rehomologate the 2015 Renault PU after all their own ERS has been added – this time as a new PU independent of Renaults.
        Renault were wrong when they said only one specification of their PU could be developed, TJ13 discovered this loophole even before Renault. Horner and Marko are just pretending that they dont have a skunkworks super ERS.
        Therefore if Red Bull can have a seperate PU so can STR. Red Bull must have developed 2 different versions of the ERS and so they now have 2 new PUs, both of which are bound to be much better than Mercs
        Well done Red Bull, I never doubted TJ13 for one moment, ther will be a lot of red faces from Renault, Merc and the rest of the media

      • I don’t understand why they opted for year old Ferrari engines for Toro Rosso. Renault / Tag would’ve been best for both, better than an engine you can’t develop.
        Any insight into the ‘why’ here?

    • A 2015 (year old) PU is regarded as already having been homologated and as such no development can take place (there are no performance development tokens for such PU’s).

      • I think TJ13 has already proven in another exclusive story that if an engine maker can have 2 specs homologated and in use at any one time like 2015 and 2016 Ferrari PU, then Renault can also have a Renault 2016 and Tag 2016 at the same time. The Tag is the one with the super duper ERS knocked up recently by the king of ERS Mario Illien – as exclusively conformed by the king of the stories TJ13
        Therefore we must accept that TJ13 exclusively worked out the loophole himself and maybe suggested it to his Red Bull insider Mateshitz.
        Despite what the whole F1 media are reporting about Red Bull using a bog standard Renault PU, I think there will be a big announcement any day now confirming Red Bulls new building 9 PU and TJ13 will finally be proven right. I cant wait to see the faces of Horner, Abitboul, Marko when they discover that TJ13 knew this before they did

        • only one design can be homologated by a manufacturer, sticking stickers to valve covers will not work, neither foes it qualifies one as a manufacturer.

  7. Thats what everyone at FIA, Renault, Red Bull, Infinity and the media think but the TJ13 story about Red Bull in possession of a competitive ERS hybrid solution means they are all wrong as TJ13 keeps confirming it.

  8. Writing for Motorsportmagazine.com, Mark Hughes recently confirmed, that Renault and Red Bull will run different ICE’s next in 2016. “Both are Renault based,” but Hughes explains, “the Illien development will be the foundation of the Red Bull engine.”

    Did Mark Hughes write this after Red Bull confirmed the Renault 2016 deal and Horner, Ghosn and Marko all said it would be completely Renault?

    Or did Mark Hughes write this when Red Bull were threatening to leave and feeding tall stories directly into all the F1 discussion forums? One can spot all the forum accounts opened up around May all claiming to be Red Bull insiders

  9. Two little things about Mark Hughes’ article you seem not to be drawing attention to:

    1/ The first line. In which he writes:

    > So if, as seems to be the case, Red Bull will be building its own engines in 2016…

    I can’t quite see how you deduce that Hughes ‘confirmed’ anything with that statement, perhaps you could elaborate.

    2/ The date stamp.

    5 November 2015.

    A month before the official confirmation that Red Bull would use Heuer-badged Renaults next year (which came on 4 December), and Marko, Horner and Renault all issued statements which strongly implied that Red Bull would get and use what Renault gave them.

    Now, I’ve no idea if Hughes’ article is correct or not. It may well be that it is. But it was published six days *before* Skysports did a piece on Red Bull suggesting that deals with Ferrari or Honda might still be possible. And no-one else except you seemed to think that Mark Hughes’ article had ‘confirmed’ anything, or has taken it seriously since as substantive evidence that the public statements of the following month were either disingenuous or have been generally misinterpreted, as you implicitly appear to suggest.

    Again, the article, and your own previous articles in similar vein may be entirely accurate, and if so you will indeed look very clever indeed. I still remain unclear as to how this particular article, which you describe simply as ‘recent’, supports your case at this stage. Of course, we’ll all know soon enough.

    Thank you for such thought-provoking material.

    Link: http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/red-bulls-2016-engine/

  10. Yet Fans have debated whether Red Bull Racing will actually be allowed to take what is effect the engine block from Renault and ‘build their own engine.’

    Fans do not know much, only real insiders like TJ13 provide the conclusive proof that Horner, Marko and Abiteboul are all wrong when they dont conform the existence of building 9 and its ERS knocked up in secret by Mario Illien on his own and in his spare time
    The only debate or rubbishing of the story is from fans on other sites, who are not lucky enough to know the real truth, as exclusively confirmed several times over by TJ13. The fans on this site have been privy to the real scoop from TJ13 for many months now.

  11. “The team (red bullies) is having to stick with underpowered Renault for now” that’s a humble pie for Christmas dinner by the good DR Marko.

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