It is being reported that Red Bull will be running Infinity branded Renault engines next year. PHEW!
OK, assuming this is true and there really will be a reconciliation, I think it is fair to say everyone will be breathing a little easier. That is not to say things between these two successful entities will be all hugs and kisses, the wounds each inflicted on the other (one it would appear on purpose, the other by accident, both with catastrophic results) will probably never really heal, but there has to be a way forward when reputations and millions of dollars are at stake.
The irony (I seem to use this word a lot these days in regards to all things F1) is that Red Bull will be continuing with the very engine supplier they chose to forgo and then roast in the press for the last several months. Had they just continued with Renault, where they ended up anyway, and just played it a little bit cooler, this entire mess would have been avoided.
We would have been spared from the mudslinging in the press; nobody needs that right now with all the uncertainty F1 has been going through. Most importantly, Red Bull would have saved itself the criticism that was directed at them from all corners of the sport: fans, pundits, other constructors, other manufacturers.
Also, from a PR perspective F1 did not need the extra drama that both Red Bull and Renault delivered right to the sport’s front doorstep for all to see. What this must have looked like to the casual fan, or worse, to someone viewing the sport for the first time in a new market like Mexico or an emerging one like Russia or the US, I can only imagine.
If there is a silver lining to all of this, it is surely that the Red Bull vs. Renault saga did open up people’s eyes (mine for sure) to the larger problems facing F1. The sport is finally accepting the fact that these issues have to be addressed, regardless of how difficult, to ensure the very health of the sport.
Truth be known, I felt Red Bull deserved what happened, you reap what you sow and all that. But I also (and I am quite sure most everyone would agree) do not want a constructor such as Red Bull, which has invested so heavily into F1 (regardless of the fact they get a great return to sell more of their peppy soda), to leave. They are world champions (might I add, at the expense of the guy whom I really like that use to driver that red car), and did a brilliant job for four consecutive years to earn those championships. A monumental feat in itself.
Love them or hate them, Red Bull did what very few have done before or after, win at an incredibly high level and losing them would have been a very big loss for F1.
Let’s hope these reports are true and these two great F1 entities can be civil enough to work together even in an abridged way so both can save a little face and F1 can move on. Hopefully this will provide the energy drinks company some time to sort out which direction they want to pursue in regards to their engine package and Renault can take comfort in completing the job at hand.