Red Bull Racing may have an engine issue for 2016. According to reports, the team’s options for a power unit supplier have radically narrowed with Ferrari as a very likely supplier.
Red Bull is said to have requested a termination of their partnership and seek to cut ties with Renault as an engine supplier for the 2016 season. This leaves a major issue for the team and one would think they would not make this kind of move if they didn’t feel they had a legitimate backup plan.
We now know that Mercedes is not part of that backup plan. According to reports, the German car maker is currently enjoying their dominance and isn’t too keen on giving a team with the resources and talent like Red Bull a chance to beat them using their own engine.
That is certainly a concern but on the other side of the coin, Red Bull having a Mercedes engine would be a branding opportunity worldwide…I guess greed over victories and titles takes precedent over long-term marketing an branding opportunities.
For Renault, this leaves them at a crossroads of sorts and forces their hand to either buy Lotus and get in F1 or walk away from the sport as they have no other engine supply contracts other than Red Bull’s two teams.
For Red Bull, this most likely leaves Ferrari as their only hope or perhaps Honda if they wanted to join the “we’ve fallen and we can’t get up” team of McLaren as they cut their teeth and wrists with the Japanese engine maker trying to get the power unit to perform as well as Honda’s F1 boss says it supposed to be.
Perhaps Red Bull have another engine deal with a company that is currently not in F1 but that would be a big stretch given the time it takes to develop a new power unit and the risk they run in employing it.
So will it be a Red Bull Ferrari option? Toro Rosso did well with Ferrari engines (2007-13) prior to switching to Renault so chances are, that’s where they will end up. The other concern is Ferrari’s capacity as they are now supplying themselves, Sauber, Marussia and in 2016, Haas F1. Could Ferrari handle both Red Bull and Toro Rosso as well?
The engine…erm, power unit issue is getting very tedious indeed.