Red Bull and Ferrari, is the enemy of my enemy my friend?

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

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Paul KieferJr

I smell a gang-up coming…


With in season development of the power unit allowed this year, we have seen Ferrari and Mercedes using it as an opportunity to give their customers an older specification (with less power).
Arrivebene’s words about not being afraid of competition sounds good, but it hasn’t been reflected in their actions this year.
For next season I hope we go back to no in season development, then at least all a power unit manufacturers customers will have the same specification as the works team.


“This is not the right spirit of competition or what Ferrari represents.”

This must be the reason why Ferrari never ever supplied any top team with his own engines.. Well, they may be changing, but caution, RBR with the same engine will be very very hard to beat.


Enzo did sell cars to other teams through the fifties and sixties. Tony Vandervell’s Thinwall Specials (although on used in non championship races from 1952-54) used a Ferrari engine, although this was steadily modified to overcome reliability issues.

Tom Firth

Somewhere I’ve got a pic of the Thinwall’s from when the collection was housed at Donington. Not sure whether that part of it still is to be honest.


If I was RBR I think I would go with a Honda engine for next year. From what I hear their engine should be the class of the field next year. Honda might even be willing to give RBR a multi-team rate on the engine supply.

Sir Andrew

Shell wont be part of the deal. Ferrari will likely keep them to themselves… RBR will be in the same position as McLaren last year when they had to use Mobil oil rather than Petronas. The BHP difference will be enough tp keep Ferrari ahead.

Negative Camber

That would be a departure for Shell as that is part fo their deal. Marussia’s and Sauber must run Shell fuel and lubricants in combination with Ferrari engines.

Sir Andrew

But Sauber and Marussia are in no way a credible threat to Ferrari, whereas the same cannot be said about RBR. I cant see RBR taking an engine with any other kind of disadvantage, unless its one that they can work on with another partner.