The club for senior F1 personnel is not known as the Piranha club for nothing. Christian Horner was happy to stick it to Ron Dennis when implying their engine badge sponsor for 2016 would upset the McLaren supremo. Tag Heuer have been a partner of the Woking team for decades but this brand will adorn the sidepods of the RB13 this year.
The revenge of Horner was for Dennis apparently blocking Honda from supplying Red Bull with a power unit in 2016.
However, Red Bull may soon be feeling a similar smack in the teeth as Renault consider how to brand their Enstone based F1 team. Renault like Mercedes and Ferrari are in the position where the engine part of the official entry name is the same as the team owners. This provides them with an opportunity to utilize other brands as the team name and official ‘named’ title sponsor.
Renault are closing in on third place in the most engine wins in F1, behind the now defunct Cosworth/Ford and Ferrari who head the table. So it would be a strange decision not to continue with the Renault name associated with the power unit. This notion is hardly a punt in the dark because as Cyril Abiteboul has already stated, “We have a strategy in terms of naming, and we know why we would be entering F1 and to promote which brand. Renault is a halo brand but there are other brands associated to that. But I will not say anything in relation to that because that will be part of the announcement”.
There has been talk within Renault that the Alpine sports car brand could be revived and including as part of the team name. However, TJ13 has learned that the ex-Red Bull Racing sponsor Infiniti is now considered favourite. This could be either as a title sponsor or even team name though the former is more probable.
Given the bad blood between Renault and Red Bull, it is difficult to believe that the Infiniti brand incorporated into the Enstone team livery would not be equally galling to Christian Horner – as it is for Ron Dennis watching an RB12 branded Tag Heuer.