Renault drops the bomb

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

  1. Honda
  2. Honda
  3. Honda

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.

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9 responses to “Renault drops the bomb

  1. I disagree with much of what has been written here. I think Red Bull knew exactly what they were doing. The partnership with Renault was at a dead end. Renault’s engine is the worst of the big three manufacturers and doesn’t look like it’s catching Ferrari or M-B. I also don’t see McLaren as anything more than a mid-field team with Renault, nor would I bet does Red Bull. I think it plays out well for Red Bull. They have a year to assess where the problems are, and Honda doesn’t want to be seen as complete losers will likely listen to what Red Bull say and consultants like Ilmor brought in to fix the problems. In 2019 Red Bull have a much more competitive engine than what they’d have gotten from Renault and they are back in the WC mix. If it doesn’t work out they pull they plug on their F1 operation or sit it out until the new engine spec arrives and they tie their horse to someone like Porsche. I’ve written this before – I think the big winner in the Mclaren / Honda / Renault / Toro Rosso melodrama is in fact Red Bull.

  2. Red Bull will become Porsche and Toro Rosso will become Honda.
    Interesting to see how it’ll all pan out

    • Not sure if either want to be full team owners – engine suppliers yes.
      Porsche has certainly being making the right noises about the engine formula changes coming in 2021.

  3. Good effort by Renault, but if Honda continues to disappoint then RB are capable of bullying them out of F1 altogether, at which point aren’t one of Renault/Ferrari/Mercedes obliged to pick up the slack under current rules? Can’t see a fresh engine supplier coming on board before the new regs.

    • Good effort by Renault?? Their engine isn’t much better than Honda’s. Wouldn’t it be great for the sport if Redbull & Honda got it right and started to take the fight to the ‘big boys!!’

      • I don’t believe I commented on the quality of the Renault motor? I meant good effort to back RB into a Honda-shaped corner. Renault engine must be sick of RB using them as a punching bag ever since, well, ever since they stopped routinely winning. As far as I’m concerned, RB is one of the ‘big boys’ but Honda finally coming good would be a nice story.

        For all except ‘LeClaren’, that is.

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