Red Bull Racing to Honda in 2019?

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When all of this talk about Honda moving to Toro Rosso (STR) and Renault moving to McLaren along with a few driver swaps for good measure—Sainz to Renault—I said on our podcast and several posts that there is a part of me that thinks if Honda do come on song, this relationship could mean a bespoke supplier for Red Bull and Toro Rosso. It was a big “If” but as we argued in our podcast on Monday, sometimes new relationships can spark new progress.

It seems now, according to Autosport, that Red Bull may not have the luxury of waiting to know if Honda will come on song with STR in 2018 before committing to the engine in 2019. The reports suggests there was some heartburn over the STR-to-Honda deal and this has Renault less than interested in renewing its engine supply deal to Red Bull. This would mean that Red Bull Racing may have no choice but to move to Honda in 2019.

Daniel Ricciardo has commented that this move may determine where he goes and Max Verstappen says it shouldn’t impact him but I am still thinking that Red Bull could turn the Honda relationship into something special. It is what Ron Dennis wanted to do at McLaren but again, that’s a big “If”.

The article says that Ferrari and Mercedes won’t supply Red Bull but I’ll have to go back and check as I thought the FIA made it clear that they must supply other teams. How is it that Ferrari and Mercedes, with this new engine format, can still choose which teams they will supply and not? Did the FIA not make a ruling on this?

There is also the rumor that Porsche may purchase Red Bull Racing in 2021 and that would mean a short Honda relationship if that were to happen.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Achim

The more I think of all the reshuffling going on the moment I fear McLaren is the biggest looser here.

jakobusvdl

Are you sure?
Unless Honda turn things around in 2018 and CAN make a competitive p.u, it looks like RBR are the ones ‘sucking the big kumera’.

Achim

I think it is all about the new engine formula starting 2020. I admit, current hybrid from Renault surely better then Hondas. But with new engine formula everything is open again. And McLaren just ditched the factory support. They won’t get it from Renault as long as they are in the sport as a works team.
RBR had Renaults full attention during the Vettel years, since Renault had no factory team then. RBR will now get it from Honda.

jakobusvdl

That new p.u format doesn’t kick in until 2021, so three more seasons until a new p.u format is implemented. From what we see of Red Bull’s response to poor performing power units, or any things that go against them, I don’t think they have the mentality to stay in the sport if they had to put up with a power unit that has performed as poorly as Honda have in the McLaren for the last three years. You may think that Honda will become competitive before 2021, and I’d love to see that happening, but McLaren know the advantages… Read more »

Achim

Short term I fully agree, long term Honda might be the better bet. Remember, it needed a PU change for Mercedes to become competitive. But in the end, long term everything is a bet. Nobody knows what happens with new PU regulations, but at least this time Honda would be on it from the start and not 1-2 years late in the game.

jakobusvdl

I’m sure that McLaren are thinking long term too, and part of that is surviving in the short term, so they are there in 2021.
The regulations for 2021 haven’t been set yet, and the new commercial agreement between Liberty Media and the Teams have to be sorted out before that too.
Mclaren will be looking at their options over the next three years, those will include Renault, their own p.u, or a new partner (Porsche, Ilmor, maybe a Chinese or Korean manufacturer?, maybe back to Honda if RBR fold).

Achim

The Porsche story is intriguing. Same has Honda, they had their big success with McLaren (although under different brand), but then next time they sucked in F1. So let’s hope they make a better impression as Honda!

Man, this whole thing is what keeps me hooked to Formula 1 compared to let’s say Indycar or DTM. So much going on which keeps you interested between the races. :-)

jakobusvdl

It sure is, and there is so much accessible information on F1, and a good community of fans to share our enthusiasm with ;-)

charlie white

What goes ’round, comes around or something like that. I guess Renault found a way to hurt Horner and Marko for all the bad words they said about them during the 2015 season. It is ironic that in the game of engine provider musical chairs, RedBull finds themselves without a (potentially) seat. Regardless of what the FIA may say or rule, neither Mercedes or Ferrari will provide engines to them and they will use some obscure rule or precedent to justify it. After just leaving the WEC, I’m not believing the “Porsche buys RedBull” rumor either.

Tom Firth

They have to supply at least three, assuming are eleven teams. As Ferrari and Mercedes will meet that commitment, is no reason why they have to supply Red Bull. Assuming Haas continue to get a Ferrari engine supply that is.

Up to Honda and Renault to meet their commitments.

Tom Firth

FIA regulations on it provided that if the result contains a fraction then the fraction shall count as a full team (e.g. 11 teams divided by 4 manufacturers = 2.75, each manufacturer must, if called upon to do so by the FIA, supply at least 3 teams). In doing so, the FIA will first allocate the power unit supply between the Power Unit Manufacturers that are supplying the fewest number of teams, provided that the teams without a supply agreement shall be allocated to the Power Unit Manufacturer(s) that supplies(supply) the lowest number of teams and so on. If there… Read more »

jakobusvdl

Wow! Talk about getting your retaliation in first. It would seem that Renault aren’t going to wait for Red Bull to decide if they’re going with them or Honda in future years. I guess RBR’s ongoing berating of Renault is going to reap the whirlwind. If this does turn out to be true it could create a real crisis in F1; Do RBR decide to pull out of F1 in 2019 if they can’t get a competitive p.u? Do RBR / STR work like crazy with Honda in 2018, so that the 2019 Honda p.u is a competitive option? Do… Read more »

Tom Firth

Everything will come down to what happens with F1 in 2020 when Liberty can effect some change in the commercial structure of the series. If the deals are good then we may well see Porsche or someone else coming in to work with Red Bull Racing.

If the deals that Liberty do in 2020 commercially aren’t good enough in 2020.
By the time we get to 2021 when the new engine regs come in, the whole F1 landscape may look different and those who were planning on coming in, may not.

jakobusvdl

I agree Tom, Liberty Media have a Tiger by the tail.
There are so many conflicting aspects of F1 to try to line up for the ‘sport’ to grow, or at least not implode, and all of the parts keep moving!
My admiration for the evil genius that was Bernie Eccleston is escalating, I imagine that under his control things would be playing out differently.

Geoff Peterson

F1 Silly Season used to be just about the drivers…. this year, it’s about drivers AND power unit manufacturers!

Junipero Mariano

As long as Renault and Honda are around, someone has to take their engines. Merc and Ferrari are comparatively booked up. If indeed Red Bull ditched Renault after 2015, I believe Bernie or the FIA would’ve just forced Honda to supply Red Bull, McLaren’s agreement be damned.

So now, Red Bull and McLaren have both spent years waiting for their respective supplier to come around. I beleive both teams will be energized by their new relationships.