With the chance of Manor/Marussia possibly affording a Mercedes engine for 2016 and Red Bull Racing (RBR) and Toro Rosso (STR) possibly moving to Ferrari engines, the silly season just gets better and better.
Mercedes are said to not be interested in a relationship with Red Bull as they have found them to be antagonists in both Formula 1 and DTM and this possibly could be guiding their decision to not supply the team with power units for 2016. The very fact they’ve been speaking with Manor means they have the capacity, they’re just not interested in RBR or STR.
On the other side of that coin, you have to appreciate the opportunity taken by Ferrari to kick sand in Mercedes AMG Petronas’s eyes when team boss, Maurizio Arrivebene, comment on the thought of supplying RBR by saying:
“Concerning my team, my engineers and aerodynamicists know their own jobs. For that reason I don’t have a problem, and competition is nice when you have a stronger competitor.
“This doesn’t mean tomorrow morning we will give our engines to Red Bull or Toro Rosso.
“But I don’t see any kind of problem to give our engine to any other team or be scared of the competition before they start.
“This is not the right spirit of competition or what Ferrari represents. We fight with everybody.”
It’s an opportunity to suggest that Mercedes is afraid of a little competition from a team with equal resources. Sure, they have Williams but they have nowhere near the resources of Mercedes however, RBR does and Ferrari may come to the old conclusion that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Could RBR and STR flourish with a Ferrari lump in the back? Most likely yes but the fine print on that contract would no doubt be reams of paper long. RBR wouldn’t want a de-tuned or old version of the Ferrari power unit and making sure there is transparency would be critical. There is also the secondary and tertiary issues such as Shell fuel and lubricant sponsorship that must go with each Ferrari engine. Is there any conflict of interests across Red Bull’s other marketing efforts?
Truth be known, the STR chassis and the RBR chassis are most likely very nice kit this year but without the shove, they haven’t been able to prove that beyond a doubt. IF they did have Ferrari power, they may be able to take the fight to the Italian squad.
Ferrari, like Mercedes, has enjoyed an engine supply contract to teams with fractional budgets of their own but would they be happy if a team using their engine beat them? According to Arrivebene, they would be perfectly okay with that. At the end of the day, any Red Bull victory is accompanied by a mention of Ferrari and the Red Bull brand reaches millions.
I’m intrigued by the thought and unless RBR can bring another engine maker into the sport, such as BMW or VW, the Ferrari looks to be their only hope for 2016 and compared to what hope they have in Renault, that’s probably a real boost.
Hat Tip: BBC Sport