Given the uproar Red Bull Racing have caused in Formula One over the past two years, it would not be unreasonable to expect that they have negotiated themselves into a better position for 2016. After all, they’ve done a new deal with Renault, which sees their income halved from the combined Infiniti/Total sponsorship when the alternative was to simply enforce the final year of the existing contract they had with the French F1 engine manufacturer – and run a standard Renault F1 power unit.
Is it the case that Red Bull Racing have been thoroughly shafted? Has the negotiating power of the fizzy drinks billionaire been so pathetic that his F1 team will slip further down the constructors rankings?
If Adrian Newey is to be believed, then their fortunes for next year are worse than ever and he fears that his Milton Keynes team could fall behind McLaren Honda in 2016. “I believe Honda, what we have seen, will make a good step. I think their internal combustion engine is a reasonable engine,” he told Motorsport. “Their problem this year has been that they made the recovery units on the turbo, the MGU-H, far too small. But that is an easy problem to address over the winter.”
Despite the Red Bull commissioned Mario Illien developments of the Renault power unit, Newey is pessimistic: “If we start the season with the same power as we have had throughout 2014 and 2015, which I think may well be the case, then we are going to be even further behind.”
Things must be bad if the Red Bull Racing guru designer has no idea what the capabilities will be of the power unit sitting in the rear of his RB12.
As an aside, Red Bull Racing would also have us believe that observers have recently reported an LMP1 car in the Red Bull Racing building 9 facility, which houses their AVL virtual track testing rig for testing the compatibility between chassis and engine.