Stories are beginning to emerge that the Red Bull Formula One family was in fact offered a Ferrari V6 Turbo hybrid engine but refused to share the 30 million euro development bill according to AutoBild.de. This was part of Sergio Marchionne’s plan to reintroduce the Alfa Romeo brand back to Formula One. The Alfa V6 Turbo hybrid could be designed at a significantly lower cost given the experience Ferrari already had in the R&D and testing of the Ferrari badged power unit.
The power unit would have been different from the one used by Ferrari and Red Bull as the customer would have been able to provide input on the design. However, despite Red Bull’s claims that the deal fell through for financial reasons, TJ13 has learned that Red Bull Racing was in fact reluctant to share with Ferrari the results from cylinder head development work undertaken by Mario Illien on their behalf. The fear was that Ferrari could then use this knowledge in their own engine too.
The Ferrari offer was for both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing.
Toro Rosso will now run a 2015 Ferrari power unit this year which Franz Tost revealed, “it’s still a step forward for us” and that it will be 50 BHP better than the Renault unit Toro Rosso was using last year. Red Bull Racing are running some form of Renault power unit, probably to be badged as TAG Heuer. The FIA entry list for 2016 still lists this as TBA.
Despite Red Bull’s claims they were being hounded out of Formula One, in reality they had a deal on the table for the sole supply of a manufacturer power unit – in effect they would again be a works team. However, a fear that Maranello would never allow an Alfa Romeo power unit to be developed which could outpace the one for the Scuderia Ferrari, appears to have been a concern that wouldn’t go away.
Yet these kind of arrangements are the reality for teams like McLaren, Williams and Red Bull, unless they find a manufacturer who will supply them alone – or they develop a power unit themselves.