The Red Bull organisation opted for Honda engine in the Toro Rosso cars.
In my previous article I already mentioned this was a definitive shock to an established wisdom in F1: do not rock the boat, because the boat might rock you.
From my point of view Honda was the perfect answer to the issue of engines: Renault continues to supply the Red Bull team itself, while it can test and ripen Honda.
It seems that Renault wants to scrap that plan, as it has dropped a bombshell on Red Bull announcing that there will be no more Renault engines in the Red Bull cars from 2019 onward.
The Honda deal was certainly part of a plan to create an alternative. Renault’s bomb will cut of the alternative of returning/sticking with Renault. Red Bull Racing now face a multiple-choice question “where will Red Bull get their engines?” with the possible answers of
Since neither Mercedes nor Ferrari will touch Red Bull Racing with their latest engine…
And the pressure is back on. They had a deal with Renault, which wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t the worst either. Retreat is no longer a possibility, and 2018 will prove whether Red Bull Racing is worse off. Honda faces a long hard year with Toro Rosso.
Renault will not have forgotten 2014 and 2015 when Red Bull Racing publicly hanged them out to dry. Neither will they have forgotten Red Bull Racing’s attempts to take over engine development. If McLaren fares well with Renault engines, Renault would rather position themselves as “saviours of McLaren” then “the company that made Red Bull Racing suffer for years”.
Red Bull Racing should have seen this coming, and should have taken precautions. They didn’t and this has now become an all or nothing game. This is flustering the paddock, and the first rumours are that if this situation doesn’t work out, that RBR will get out of F1 by 2021.
Hard to say whether this is truly the case, since Red Bull Racing has actually said something like that before, only to negate it later. This story isn’t over yet..
It will, however, heavily influence Daniel’s and Max’ decision to stay with Red Bull Racing. Daniel has the luxury to see and wait what the Honda/Toro Rosso cooperation brings. If it doesn’t do what is needed, he can decide during the 2018 season to try his luck elsewhere. Max, however, might be in for a less then positive experience, sinceRed Bull Racing will surely keep him to his contract for 2019.
And then we have the situation that more and more teams are going into e-racing. Will Red Bull Racing open that door and create itself an exit when the Honda engines don’t pan out? Sounds like a definite possibility to me.
2018 already promises to be an interesting season! We hope to pick up more details about the story and the situation later.