Losing Renault is bad, losing Red Bull is even worse

As I stated in my article (where apparently I was the only human that found it shocking) about Renault pulling out of F1 as an engine supplier, there is every reason to be concerned regardless of if they acquire Lotus and become a works team or not. Namely, it supplying Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso.

The issue at hand isn’t simply if Renault is quitting their engine supply program and if they actually leave Formula 1 altogether because they don’t acquire another team to become a F1 operation. It is deeper than that and is really a knock-on impact to Red Bull.

Now, it must be said that Red Bull is rumored to have already sought a early termination of the engine supply contract from Renault but regardless, this still leaves them without a power unit for 2016.

Could both Renault and Red Bull be leaving F1 in 2016? An article at AUTOSPORT does present some doubt as team boss Christian Horner said:

“That depends on the desire of other parties for us to be in Formula 1.

“If we don’t have an engine, we can’t compete.

“Dietrich [Mateschitz] has always made it very clear he wants to have a competitive engine.”

I also stated in my article about the F1 Strategy Group discussing the engine option by allowing some teams to run year-old power units in F1. Namely that has been Manor GP this year and three articles I read suggested this would be something Red Bull might opt for but as I wrote, that would be nonsense for a team with the resources to win title like Red Bull.

If they did run year-old power units, it would be out of no other options and they wanted to remain in F1 until such time as they could find a new supplier.

Red Bull might take on Ferrari engines if the car maker offers it but they wouldn’t be interested in running less competitive power units than the Ferrari team run. That’s not why they are in F1.

We have all been wringing our hands over the survival of the small teams like Sauber, Force India, Lotus and Manor but if Red Bull have no options for an engine supply, that is a massive blow to F1 should they leave. Red Bull spends millions on this series and more than all of the aforementioned teams combined most likely. So scoff if you must but I would hate to see the negative impact losing such a large privateer as Red Bull would have on the sport I love.


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Tom Firth

I agree completely, that losing Red Bull would be terrible for single-seater motorsport, not just F1. A company with that much investment in the sport to create the next F1 “stars” would trickle all the way through the sport and put a lot of careers and organisations in jeopardy, not only the two teams in F1.

charlie white

This is the fickleness of big dollar sponsorship and manufacturer participation in motor sports. Once either or both starts losing, they abandon the program. And in this case, the two are closely related. Renault wanted a change for “road relevance” in F1 and its lead quasi-works team Red Bull stopped winning when the new “road relevance” specs arrived. To be told, I see Red Bull television advertising (in USA) and rarely do I see any images from Formula-1. NASCAR survived RB’s involvement when it left and so can F1.

John The Race Fan

Red Bull’s investment in NASCAR was nothing compared to their investment in F1.


Red bull in nascar was more like when red bull sponsored sauber.

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

If Red Bull leaves, that is two more TALENTED drivers that potentially go, and the door swings open for even more pay drivers. Could we even handle another Pastor?

John The Race Fan

It is apparent that all the money wrapped up in Formula 1 is contributing to the death of the sport. Every company that invests in a team or in the series expects some return on that investment. In most cases, the ROI isn’t necessarily quantifiable, being the perceived value of a marketing campaign. Understanding this, it’s pretty easy to understand why Renault is pissed at Red Bull, doubly so when they repeatedly threw them under the ERS-enhanced twin-turbo V6 powered bus because Danny & Danny aren’t able to produce any results in a Red Bull sheetbox. That said, I can’t… Read more »


I hear Audi is coming to F1. Well, a 15 year-old kid told me that.

If FCA does merge with GM, could we see a Buick-branded lump in F1?
(Yeah, sorry; couldn’t type that with a straight face, so never mind)

Paul KieferJr

Yeah, I keep hearing that same rumor. We all know it’s not going to happen, even if the people were trying to put a gun to Audi’s collective heads.


Sorry, Paul – the Audi line was a joke that was started on this site years ago when it was in it’s infancy. Of course Audi isn’t going to F1 – you know it, and I know it, but other might not. However, I saw the Renault story, and it brought up some good memories along with a smile to my (old) face, so I threw a goofy comment out for a laugh!

Tom Firth

The legend that is WonkyDave returns!


“Legend”? Do I owe you money, Tom? Actually, a good friend of mine on this site turned 50 today, and I thought I’d stop in. It’s been a while!

Tom Firth

Haha, no on the forum a year or so ago, we used the internet wayback machine to look at old versions of the site down the years, and your name came up on several occasions, before my time here.

I asked Dave (MIE) who you where, and he described you as a stats wonk who knew every statistic going, so I thought I would say hello :-)

Bob Clarke

Yo! Cosworth! Don’t suppose you’d be into building a tiny V6 hybrid? How `bout you folks at Toyota Racing Development in Southern California? More money than brains? Anyone?


I would miss the investment and nothing more.

Will Irwin

Red Bull is not going away, at least not now. They must have already got an engine deal with Ferrari signed and sealed or they would not be talking so openly about terminating the Renault contract. As much as I dislike all their public slating of their long time partner, they are not stupid.

J Jones

Renault are buying Lotus, Redbull at Ferrari, done deals everyone knows it!. Sensational headline grabbing ( just like the last article by the way). I think even the tabloids would be proud of these two!.

Negative Camber

Really? So here is what I know…Media says that Renault are speaking with Lotus and have gone down the path of possibly acquiring them but they want historic team status which so far, FOM isn’t keen to grant them. This is a big deal in the negotiations and I’ve seen Mr. E walk away from bigger deals. So you’re suggesting this is a done deal and everyone knows it? I’m apparently the only person who hasn’t read the press release about this being a done deal I guess. I’ve not seen any confirmation that this is completed or a done… Read more »


The BBC today reported that Lotus have been given seven days to pay their creditors or the will go into administration.
Also, Eddie Jordan is reporting VW’s interest in acquiring Red Bull.

I’m with Todd,this mess is far from sorted.


The VW deal is a natural. It will happen. All you have to do is listen to my diesel Jetta when the cat fell off and you’ll know they’ve been working on their own new-spec F1 motor in secret for years. like a wise man once said “done deals everyone knows it!” ;-)

Andreas Möller

I’d sure be sad to see Red Bull go, but I doubt it’ll happen. I could be wrong, of course, but I think they are far too invested in the sport to drop out suddenly. And while they seem to have nearly limitless resources to throw at their F1 efforts, paying huge fines to prematurely get out of their contract with FOM probably isn’t what they want to spend their money on. The reason I didn’t consider the Renault decision a shock was not because I didn’t care about it – it was because it wasn’t really a surprise, all… Read more »

João Jorge

Could this all have been avoided with a 3 year period of free engine design and evolutiion?

Andrew Pappas

This reminds me of WRC, just before Subaru, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, and Ford Works backed out. New rules for “cost savings” and parity, leave some not clicking with the new format, while others just out spend in development and drivers. F1 better tread lightly. That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. Teams dominated many times before. But limiting development so drastically doesn’t limit cost on developing, it reduces the speed you can develop. Just operating a team costs money. So now you are saying to some “hey, just roll around at the back of the grid until you maybe have… Read more »


Good riddance to bad rubbish. Enjoy being another forgotten WCC brand like Benetton and Matra, Helmut.