Red Bull to use ‘Illien-developed Renault’ in 2016

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Red Bull are expected to continue using Renault engines in 2016 but with their own hybrid system developed by Mario Illien,


Comment of the day

Benetton took over the Toleman team in 1986
The team once known as Benetton may remain as Lotus next year if Renault choose not to rebrand them until they look more likely to become competitive, while Force India may take on the Aston Martin identity. But what’s in a name?

I don’t want fake Lotus or fake Aston Martin. I’d rather have a clothing brand owning an F1 team than a legendary name being misused mainly for sponsorship. It’s well known that Lotus is not paying for that name.
Pennyroyal tea (@Peartree)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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109 comments on “Red Bull to use ‘Illien-developed Renault’ in 2016”

  1. Illien? Do I have to Wikipedia that? :(

    1. Co-founder of Ilmor, who are pretty good at the whole “building engines” thing.

      1. What are the chances that the partnership with Red Bull builds something quite competitive? Renault and Honda wouldn’t be too happy…

        1. Once you’ve built the heads with combustion chambers you’re more than halfway to a complete engine, the block and rotating assembly are easy and not expensive (in F1 terms) to contract for, especially if they could bring in some other teams and have a run of 50+ made, of course it is probably not worth doing because Bernie wants more noise for 2017.

        2. Good question @ivz. It would indeed be quite an upset if Red Bull were to develop a better Renault based engine than the manufacturer itself!

          However, it seems that Illien himself is not in the loop and denies having been doing more than just his 1-cylinder model he did earlier in the year (German AMuS spoke to him), so who knows whether this is more than just rumour.

          I guess we can take from this that its certain now that Red Bull will continue with a Renault engine, be it that the name Renault will not be on it.

          1. I suppose Illien could be taking the “deny everything until Red Bull officially announce this” approach, but there is some merit in this for Red Bull. Why spend millions getting what you believe to be a sub-standard product when you could hire a team of specialists and develop the technology yourself?

            By the way, the thing I liked most about that AMUS article is the reference to Illien as the “Swiss Motor Pope” (“Der Schweizer Motorenpapst”)…

          2. yeah, agree that it is a nice tidbit in there @geemac. It seems that for next year the solution will most likely be using the Renault in some form (making any serious adjustments now would probably be too much of a leap), but it could well be that for the future RBR is going on a path with Illien somehow

          3. Sounds rather like when Williams, Benetton and BAR used the Renault-derived Mechachrome / Supertec engines back in the late 90’s / early 2000’s. So there is precedent there, and if anything maybe Bernie and Jean Todt should encourage this so even if there are no more manufacurers coming into F1 witht the new engine regs, there is still some scope for engine development though the independant engine specialists.

            Maybe we might even see Cosworth back …

        3. Everyone kept saying RBR should design their own engine and these reports are saying that they will. Looks like Lotus will remain Lotus next year with Renault just selling the engine technology even if they do technically own Lotus. RBR will buy the latest D spec Renault engine and develop it. They are probably paying a bucket load for it.

          Will the Renault/RBR engine be any good? Probably not next year. But hey, they have the Adrian Newey of engines (Ilien) and a bucket load of money. 2017 or more likely 2018 may see them with the best engine in the field.

          Is that good for F1. No. In 2-3 years time, they might dominate again, but this time with the full package. Unless Ferrari or Merc stump up with more cash to beat them, then only McLaren and Honda may have any chance and that doesn’t look likely right now. If Merc start losing to RBR they will probably leave the sport. When they go, Williams, Force India and the rest are stuffed and will probably have to by year old RBR or Honda engines.

          Don’t forget RBR is looking at buying CVC’s shares in the sport also so they may completely dominate F1.

          People look at Hamilton’s decision to go to Merc as devine inspiration. It was simple common sense. McLaren had a Merc Engine. Merc were spending bucket loads of cash to win. McLaren was always going to lose in that relationship. That is why McLaren jumped ship to Honda as well. If RBR own the engine and spend the money required, they will dominate again. They already have the chassis, they just need a better engine and money will fix that. Ricciardo and Verstappen racing for the 2018 championship is my prediction.

          F1 has always been a money game and RBR have the most. Be careful what you wish for people. Everyone said stop winging and build your own engine. Looks like they listened and unless the FIA see the writing on the wall, we could all suffer. Can Merc, Ferrari and McLaren/Honda go toe to toe with them? Time will tell but I have a sinking feeling for F1. Lucky I am an Aussie and a Ricciardo supporter otherwise I might stop watching.

    2. @ivz Mario Illien was co-founder of Ilmor who created the rapid Mercedes engines that McLaren used with great success in the late nineties. Ilmor were a pretty big deal back then.

      1. Indeed. Mercedes HPE spawned off Ilmor and some staff transferred over to HPE. There are on opposite sides of a roundabout in Brixworth, Northants.

    3. I though Infinity was a Renault group brand. I read somewhere that RBR gave the $50M sponsorship on their cars to Infinity for about $30M at the request of Renault. I heard they weren’t happy about it either.
      Could be wrong though, because I cant remember where I read that.

      1. Infinity is Nissan’s luxury brand, like Lexus is Toyotas luxury brand. Renault & Nissan own each other.–Nissan_Alliance

        Renault & Mercedes have an engineering partnership called compass.

  2. Well, Super Formula is not that much slower than McLaren-Honda. And much more reliable.

    1. Plus it’s a professional series, more so than GP2 or Formula I Can’t Believe It’s Not Renault 3.5 V8.

    2. It proves there is somerhing wrong going on in F1… what do you need to do to earn a seat on merit ? What more could you asked than Vandoorne ?

      F1 is seriously shooting itself in the foot right now by going from bad to worst. Ok some team may required pay driver to.continue to exist. But at least when a true talent is spotted and recognized as such by all, he should make it to the grid.

      What is the appeal now for youngster, they should first check daddy’s purse before beginning karting while dreaming of F1. I fear F1 is a dream no more…

      1. I take the point, and it is incredibly frustrating that the cream doesn’t seem to be rising to the top, but you can hardly blame McLaren here. They have two world champions contracted for next season so they are rightly reluctant to get rid of either of them while they develop the Honda PU. But I think they are also reluctant to let any other team get their hands on Vandoorne given how much they have invested in his development to date, so he is now stuck in no man’s (or Magnussen’s) land.

      2. @jeanrien

        what do you need to do to earn a seat on merit?

        To be fair, “doing what Lauda did to get to F1” wouldn’t be the world’s worst answer – not even close.

  3. Fudge Ahmed (@)
    6th November 2015, 0:27

    TheJudge13 called the Illien story this morning, before any other site. Just wondering why that article wasn’t in the round up Keith? I know nothing of that site’s pedigree but they also leaked the Red Bull camouflage testing livery weeks before anyone else…

    1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
      6th November 2015, 0:29

      By the way that article also states that the hunt for a Ferrari or Merc was primarily used as a fallback as there was a deadlock on the intellectual property of the Renault engine between the french company and RB. If an agreement was not concluded then they would apparently have been without an engine for 2016.

      They also strongly suggest the Illien engine will be badged Infiniti… ?

      1. I must say that given the links between Renault and Nissan (of which Infinity is the luxury brand) and Renault apparently being strongly against its name being tied to the Red Bull, I would be somewhat surprised if Infinity would stay with Red Bull next year @offdutyrockstar

        1. I though Infinity was a Renault group brand. I read somewhere that RBR gave the $50M sponsorship on their cars to Infinity for about $30M at the request of Renault. I heard they weren’t happy about it either.
          Could be wrong though, because I cant remember where I read that.

      2. I believe “the judge 13” is what Joe Saward calls a “stay at home expert” who, despite having a few contacts in the paddock, generally isn’t as in the loop as he claims to be. And as someone mentioned, he isn’t always accurate.

        If Renault goes, Infiniti goes. They are in the same group.

        1. Is that so? They were the ones who broke the story that Renault was having problems with their power unit coming into the 2014 season, Red Bull crash testing the RB11 nose 50+ times, the livery they’d be using for the 2015 test.

          So I wouldn’t go as far as making such assumptions.

        2. Fudge Ahmed (@)
          6th November 2015, 9:35

          Prematurely hit send, I was going to say the Infiniti branding was not stated as a dead cert just likely, it did mention this would be subject to Renault approval but you have to think that even if its Renault’s partner credited would be better than completely removing them from the equation and calling it the Wings PU or something no?

        3. @geemac I believe it’s even more localised than ‘the paddock’. He apparently has some close contacts to the motorsport scene in Milton Keynes, meaning he can get little scoops on Red Bull and the Honda engine scene.

        4. Yup, you totally changed my mind right there. If ol’ Coffee Shop Joe says it from the paddock it must be true. He is an assailable font of “right think” fer sure.
          Maybe having a plane ticket in close proximity to his laptop makes his words superior.

      1. McLaren also denied all the rumours that they’d be switching to Honda in the back end of 2013. It’s all part of the process and Sky Sports Mark Hughes tweeted that they (Thejudge13) was spot on and Taka Inoue also reported the same thing

        I’ve read them a couple times and they’ve been the first to leak a lot of stories.

      2. @aqibqadeer He or the company likely can’t confirm anything until Red Bull do so…

    2. @offdutyrockstar, the reason is that particular website generally doesn’t have a particularly good reputation when it comes to the accuracy of its stories. Just two weeks ago he was speculating about Red Bull leaving the sport altogether, whilst a few months ago he was suggesting that Renault was looking at the possibility of buying Red Bull – all in all, I’d treat his blog with a considerable amount of caution.

    3. As Anon mentions @offdutyrockstar its a blog that clearly has some sources, but it does not always check its stories well enough, that is probably also the reason why serious media outlets are reluctant to pick up that story – they check the facts from other sources – and that is where AMuS comes in with Illien denying being part of such a solution and having done more than some initial study last year.

    4. Fudge Ahmed (@)
      6th November 2015, 9:37

      Have to also mention that TJ13 was dead certain about the Alonso to McLaren deal being done and received alot of flack on twitter around 6 weeks before it was announced. There’s definitely some very inside people feeding that site information.

    5. @offdutyrockstar @bascb It’s because TheJudge13 is not a credible source. Firstly, the owner of the website is anonymous. While opinions and thoughts can be interesting regardless of that, one should never trust anonymous news. Secondly, its social media strategy rather makes me think that this is a wannabe, who desperately wants to be seen as important and recognized. TheJudge13 has obviously bought thousands of Twitter followers – according to Twitter audit, it has 12,669 fake followers and only 2045 real ones. It also emphasizes in its profile description that the account is followed by Mercedes and Lotus even though it means nothing as these two teams follow a lot of F1 fanatics that are active on Twitter (Lotus follows me, too). It does not mean that you should not read the website or that it is never right about anything but there is a difference between serious F1 media and fan blogs, who pretend to be insiders.

      1. Have you actually visited the site or listened to their podcast? I have and I wouldn’t label them as being just another ”fan blog’ and not serious journalist.

      2. I do think that their reporting has become better over time, and I have told them quite a few times that they should be less demagogic and also do more decent work before throwing stuff out there (they were incredibly agressive over the Jules Bianchi accident, for example. Almost like a crusade).

        As @girts mentions, one of the fundamental differences between being interesting at times and scoring the odd scoop, and being a reliable source of news is fact checking, getting confirmation from more than one source before you publish. That is exactly what Keith does – publish stories that from reliable sources, or when there are directly conflicting ones publish both of them.

        1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
          6th November 2015, 13:21

          Yes agree, Keith’s story selection in second to none. :)

    6. TJ13 reliable? Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    7. @offdutyrockstar @girts @bascb The whole ‘competitive media’ thing really doesn’t interest me and I’m wary of ending up in a ‘I think so-and-so is good and such-and-such is bad’ conversation because these things are never black and white like that. Suffice it to say I don’t want to mislead people and I’m not going to include something in the round-up if I think there’s a risk of doing that. However just because I haven’t linked to a particular source on a particular day doesn’t mean that won’t happen in future, because opinions can change.

  4. Re COTD, what Renault should do is change the name to Toleman, since the current team can trace back its roots to that F1 team.

    1. @mantresx In Mexico, Lotus had Enstone written on the car, in the end that’s the long standing historic name they’ve got. As you and Keith mentioned, the team was Toleman and everyone knows the team for it’s role in Ayrton’s early career. So why, has the team that led to Toleman run for the past 5 years the livery the Lotus Senna run after he left Toleman. Why not run their own old Toleman Candy sponsorship, it’s not iconic? Obviously the JPS is not just a Senna livery. Honestly I have no words to describe how heartless I think what the current Lotus is doing, above all it’s farcical. Anyway what ever that team is called certainly deserves to get financial stability.

    2. Given the trouble it is to rename a team (with the other teams having to agree and possible consequences for the FOM money), i can see why Renault would hold off on changing the name for now @mantresx. Afterall, they also kept the Bennetton name on the team for 2 years the last time the Enstone unit because Renault.

      At least Renault has now solved the issue with Proton (something with guarantees they gave with the original lotus deal), so they can change the name when they see fit.

    3. Toleman is now the current Lotus team? Toleman – Benneton – Renault – Lotus?

      RedBull was from a fresh startup Stewert GP which became Jaguar which became RedBull?

      I might be wrong, anyone care to clarify?

      1. Woops misread the comment I though you were saying Red Bull used to be Toleman.

      2. And don’t forget Mercedes AMG used to be Tyrell!

  5. All of F1 is branding. Those ‘German’ silver arrows aren’t designed or built in Stuttgart.

    Aston Martin coming in as a brand is simply them recognising a talented bunch who just need more money to make a step forward and supplying it for mutual benefit. Aston get their brand some exposure in the pinnacle of motorsport and we get to see what Force India can achieve with a bit more budget. Everyone is happy.

    The only exception is Ferrari really.

    1. @philipgb You are correct although I’m sure Mercedes is in any way dedicated to F1. I’m sure that some of their engineering background as a car maker has made it to their PU, if not their money surely did. A title sponsor is a title sponsor. Aston though is as Lotus and to a certain extent Martini a sign of F1’s economic decadence. Everyone knows that an empty car is never going to attract sponsors. The names I’ve mentioned have gotten a great deal in terms of exposure but are above all leasing their name as a marketing strategy. There’s no partnership. I’m sure RB uses geox shoes or that McLaren drink Segafredo, I’m sure SFI won’t run Aston Martin engines, there’s not a slightest connection.

      1. Aston Martin road cars are going to be AMG Mercedes powered so it’s not as tenuous a link as it may seem.

        1. In addition to the engine deal, Aston Martin signed a secondary deal for Mercedes’s electronic systems. Asides from that, Mercedes is also a minority shareholder in Aston Martin (they own 5% of the company), so there is a residual commercial link.

      2. The Blade Runner (@)
        6th November 2015, 8:49


        I hear what you’re saying and on the whole agree. I had the Lotus isn’t Lotus conversation many times a few years ago as friends that were new to F1 decided Lotus was their team, using the history of Lotus to justify a decision that I think was mostly based on (a) Kimi (fair enough) and (b) they liked the Lotus teamwear more than any other!

        It’s all about the marketing. Williams’ cars look great because of the Martini livery. It’s iconic but it also looks cool. A Force India branded as Aston Martin will look amazing I have no doubt. The team clothing will probably also sell like wildfire. That is the reality.

        1. I’ve never seen anyone buy wildfire… then again nor have I seen anyone buy hot cakes I suppose!

          1. The Blade Runner (@)
            6th November 2015, 10:34

            FOR SALE:


            ** Last one remaining **

          2. Hot cakes = pan cakes

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      6th November 2015, 15:17

      And it is not the first time Aston Martin puts its badge on another car.
      Aston Martin Cygnet anyone?

      1. @coldfly I’ve seen one on the road. Almost wanted to pull over and slap the owner for that one…

      2. @coldfly, nor, for that matter, would it be the first time that Aston Martin has put its name on another engine (the V8 engine in the Vantage being a lightly modified Jaguar AJ series engine).

  6. It I understand this right red Bull would be using an engine based on the Renault design. Would Renault build the blocks? License the retained parts?

    How do they have time too do this?

    1. @slotopen I imagine that not having an actual F1 campaign to build for would free up a lot of time…

    2. As far as I know Renault don’t actually build their engines that’s done by Mecachrome to Renault’s design. So you’d think RB will probably do the same – license the IP of the parts they need from Renault and contract Mecachrome to do the assembly.

  7. Wonder what Sauber could do if they had Vandoorne?

      1. They’re still doing better now than if they had Sutil & VDG.

    1. From past form also have Magnussen, Ericsson and Nasr promised the seat.

  8. If Benetton ever return as a (main) sponsor, that would be so awesome.

  9. The last line of the Illien article made me giggle, it would be funny hearing Horner explain why they shouldn’t have to provide engines to other teams, should the Illien engine happen, and turn out to be good.

    The link to the Illien Penske story on that article is well worth a read if you’re not familiar with it.

    1. As I understand Eric Boullier, if you want to win the Constructors Championship then, if the decision was yours, you wouldn’t even consider letting another team buy the same engine. As such, Red Bull would want to have an exclusive contract with Illien / Illmor.
      As a thought, a 4% improvement, assuming an 800 hp engine, is a gain of about 32 horsepower.

      1. I am sure McLaren would be open to a team like Manor, or maybe Sauber or FI being a customer once McLaren and Honda get things sorted and start winning.

        Supplying someone is good, it brings more money in and it helps development. But going through the trouble of developping an engine and then hand a good package to someone that could/would beat you on a regular basis is not that. That was exactly the reason why Ron did not want to be a Mercedes (or anyone’s) customer – because he knew that he would never be able to get on equal footing.

    2. @beneboy I haven’t read it yet, but this book about the Ilmor-Penske engine that was released last year is suppose to be very good.

  10. My question is WHY THE F#&$ ISN’T VANDOORNE IN FORMULA 1!?!?!?!?!

    1. Not enough seats. But hey, less teams is good for F1 right?

      1. I personally drivers like Kimi and Button should step aside and make way for fresh blood.

        1. Has any driver in F1 ever ‘stepped aside to make way?’ especially while under contract? It’s simply not how it works. Did anybody step aside for Kimi or Button when they started?

        2. Button beat Magnussen comfortably over a season and he was considered a top young talent. World champions do not have to move for hyped potential.

      2. Indeed not enough seats / cars available @rjoconnell, @mattypf1. And I think that Superformula car might be quicker than the McLaren was at most tracks this year!

        I like it that they will have Vandoorne racing there, it would be a huge shame to see a driver like him sit on the sidelines. And he will be in Japan, can bond more with Honda while doing so, something that will certainly come in handy for a McLaren-Honda future.

      3. maarten.f1 (@)
        6th November 2015, 7:56

        @rjoconnell It’s more than that. He’s part of the McLaren young driver program (or whatever they like to call it), so he’s locked in his contract with McLaren. Not enough seats is one thing, but realistically there are only two possible seats for him with the contract he has.

        I guess being part of a young driver program is great as you work your way through the lower formulas, but once you want to get into F1 it can only work against you unless you are very lucky getting there at the right time.

        1. The Blade Runner (@)
          6th November 2015, 8:55

          I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get a seat at McLaren in 2017.

          All that McLaren currently has going for it is the marketability of its two drivers. Once their cars become competitive again I think we’ll see a driver line-up decision which means the end of Jenson in F1.

      4. 3 car teams would get him in. A lot of promising drivers would be in good cars. Alonso may stand a chance to get in at Merc, Verstappen at Ferrari or whatever, if there are 2 or 3 top teams then there would be 6 or 8 top drivers in contention instead of 4 or 6. 3 car teams were a staple of F1 when it 1st started so there is history, WEC have 3 car teams at Le Mans. Many top prospects never made it to F1 in many eras. Dario Franchitti springs to mind.

    2. £, $, €, R$, ¥, ₩, ₭, ƒ….

    3. The short answer is he hasn’t proved he belongs in F1.
      In the “old days” a young driver would put in thousands of miles testing for an F1 team proving that they are good enough for the step up. Now, with the testing restrictions teams don’t have that assessment process anymore and are apparently hesitant to hand the keys over to someone just because they did well in a lower formula. We also had situations where a big team would arrange for one of their young drivers to drive for a smaller team and that seems to have gone away too.
      So unless you’re in the RB young driver program it doesn’t look like there is sure a path to F1 anymore.

  11. Sean (@spaceman1861)
    6th November 2015, 2:08

    Is the Illien link confirmed?

    1. BobBuilderofF1cars
      6th November 2015, 2:58

      He does not deny that he and Red Bull Racing have a 2016 PU arrangement. He denies some stuff about Intellectual Property (obviously to ensure he is not in breach of non disclosure arrangements). He also denies having attended the RBR engine facility (building 9), which previously remained unacknowledged. He also denies Renault to date have used any of his ideas in their PU.

  12. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    6th November 2015, 2:28

    Now the Illien story has been denied, what is the possible next step for RB to keep racing?

    1. Nothing adds credibility more than an official denial.

    2. Just using the Renault engine without Renault badge on it, and pay for that for next year @omarr-pepper. In the mean time for 2017 and onwards they could well be working on something like cooperating with Illien

  13. I like the idea of Red Bull modifying the engines they have and running them on their own. That’s very “Adrian Newey”.

    It’d be fantastic to see Red Bull as a full on manufacturer (even with help from Renault).

    If it happens, well done to them. They could’ve saved ourselves from hearing all the moaning during the last 15 months, but still… I rather see them on the grid next year…

    1. I agree, if this is true it would be very good news!

      1. Best thing they can do is build their own engines. They make fizzy drinks but built cars that were faster than huge racing teams, now they can do that they should prove they can build better engines as well. They have as much money as Ferrari and Merc to throw at it. I am sure winning a title whilst building the lot would be even sweeter than when they won with Renault and nearly as sweet as the drinks they make.

        1. incorrect. Nothing is as sweet as red bull. it’s like drinking liquid poundcake.

  14. As much as I dislike Red Bull Racing in its current, egotistical form, I hope they stay in F1. That being said, I believe they have two avenues to go down.

    1. Accept the humbling of being a non-manufacturer and rebuilt relations with engine supplier(s)
    2. Become even bolder by committing to become a complete constructor.

  15. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    6th November 2015, 8:34

    The Vandoorne situation puzzles me. Both McLaren drivers are in the final five years of their career, and in Stoffel they have a driver who could soon be leading the team, so why delay the inevitable? Vandoorne doesn’t need to waste 2016 romping to yet another title, when he’s already established as a driver that MUST be given an F1 drive. Ever since Alonso joined the team, Button’s monopoly on experience has expired, so at the very least he in a Luizzi/Klien-style shared drive with Vandoorne in 2016.

    And let’s not forget, the Ferrari Driver Academy are about to drop Marciello and Fuoco, and having tragically lost their star pupil, the hunt is on for a new protege. McLaren need to be very careful not let another excellent young driver slip through their fingers.

    Equally, Vandoorne should be cautious about Super Formula. Even he cannot guarantee success over drivers as good as Ishiura, Nakajima, Lotterer and Kobayashi on tracks he doesn’t know.

    1. That is the key point for me, Vandoorne can only damage his reputation in Super Formula.

      It is an incredibly professional series with quite a few quality drivers and the tracks they go to have their own foibles that take a while to learn. It is not a given that he will “romp to the title”, but if he does it may well be seen that way which would do the series (and his effort) a massive disservice.

      1. @geemac Yes, I reconsidered that assertion as soon as I wrote it. However if there is a guy who can enter a competitive series with a bang it is the guy who won on debut in both FR3.5 and GP2. But yes, you are right, he has an incomparable track record, so he needs to be careful not to damage his stock in what will hopefully be his final stop-gap season before F1. But, since he is adamant about continuing racing, what other options does he have? It is now too late to land a DTM seat, so unless he fancies racing in America it is either Super Formula or a pretty pointless campaign in GP3 or F3.5 V8.

        1. Agreed, any form of racing is a better option than sitting at the back of McLaren’s garage feeling sorry for yourself for a season. All I hope is that F1 types give the series (and the drivers in it) their due and not assume he’ll walk it, despite his ridiculously good form to date.

          1. Too specialist, would mean associating himself with a manufacturer that isn’t Honda and would therein threaten his F1 career. For the same reasons he won’t think too hard about pursuing a DTM campaign.

      2. I guess it all depends on expectations @william-brierty, @geemac. If McLaren and Honda expect Stoffel to do about the same he did in GP2, i.e. learning the equipment and tracks in his rookie year before taking the title in a convincing way, it could be exactly the thing to fill the period between now and the end of the contracts of Button and/or Alonso.

        That would have the advantage of Stoffel learning even more, developing his driving even more but also, given that Honda powers part of the field, an excellent opportunity to bond with the Honda guys (and possibly Japanese fans too), in the way that Honda has a long term relationship with Button and the way the Japanese have long had a great admiration/feel for Senna too.

        As William mentions, going back to F3.5 doesn’t make much sense and nor does DTM when Honda is not in the series – would they want to throw him into touring cars of some sort the japanese version (Super GT) would make a bit more sense, but then there is solid competition there too, so he can just as well go for the superformula and stay with open wheel cars.

    2. The Blade Runner (@)
      6th November 2015, 9:46

      As I say in my post above, I think the current driver line-up is based on marketability, probably the only thing McLaren has going for it currently.

      From 2017 a (hopefully) more competitive McLaren should be choosing its drivers based on their ability to secure the WDC or at least move more quickly towards that goal.

      1. @thebladerunner I hope so too, but McLaren going to need another driver to partner Vandoorne once Alonso has lost patience with Honda (presumably at the end of 2017). With Magnussen told to get on his bike, and with De Vries flat-lining in FR3.5 this year, McLaren will be on scrounge once more, which is a shame, since Ron said McLaren had “the ultimate in next generation talent” after Magnussen and Vandoorne locked out the FR3.5 series in 2013. Is it me or have McLaren been unable to make intelligent decisions since Hamilton’s exit in 2012?

        1. @WilliamB: “Is it me or have McLaren been unable to make intelligent decisions since Hamilton’s exit in 2012?”

          Well, Lewis has his flaws but let’s not blame him for McLaren state. A certain Ron Deniss came back right about the time Lewis left.

        2. The Blade Runner (@)
          6th November 2015, 14:01


          It’s not just you! I think in fairness to McLaren certain decisions taken earlier have forced their hands in other areas and there’s been a very negative snowballing effect. Having ALO, BUT and a Honda engine could have been the best thing ever for 2015. Certainly on paper it was the dream team. Reality bites as they say. Thank goodness they didn’t run with the red and white livery this year!

          For 2017 onwards I’d like to see an ultra-competitive McLaren with Alonso at his best and Vandoorne pushing him hard. Unfortunately it’s all pie in the sky at the moment. If their fortunes in 2016 in any way resemble 2015 then I expect Alonso to walk mid-season and goodness knows what to happen next…

    3. Are Ferrari about to drop Marciello and Fuoco?

  16. Red Bull’s situation is a bit like the immovable object and the irresistible force, in terms of personalities.

    Bernie is desperate for them to stay in, but Renault seems to be all about one individual too – Carlos Ghosn, and obviously he is no softie. Red Bull is all about one man too of course and he’s been rude and dismissive about Carlos’ outfit even very recently. Honda’s decision seems to be all about one man and that man is the Ronster. I don’t see any of them giving in.

    For now I can’t help being cheerful about Mario Illien’s denial, anyway. I don’t like Red Bull, Christian Horner, their attitude and how they behave. I’ll be quite happy to have Merc, Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Aston, Lotus, Haas, Manor-Mercedes and Sauber. If he’s free perhaps somebody will put Max next to Seb or Lewis? I’ll pay to watch that. And somebody might buy the RBR and TR teams anyway. Someone who hasn’t fallen out with Carlos.

  17. Given that the current PU’s are more about electronics and software than about the lump of metal that represents the ICE it would seem that RBR’s only option might be to buy a block and develop all the rest but I’d be very doubtful about the story published by thejudge13.

    The only way a business like renault (or ferrari or Mercedes for that matter) would agree to that is if there was something in it for them and I don’t see the upside for Renault. Unless of course the fabled “new engine” that hasn’t materialised from Renault has indeed been developed primarily by RBR engineers and Renault need to do a contra deal to get the improvements for themselves.

    Overall the whole story ranks about 8/10 on the BS meter.

  18. A very interesting article regarding Red Bull and their engine deal for 2016, this link

    If true sheds a little more light on tokens,branding and ERS etc for Red Bulls new engine.

    1. Lol

  19. That’s great news !! Mario Illien is a great engineer with a proven record of working with Newey. Now, if Mateschitz could sell his team and ride into the sunset , that would be even better !!!

  20. Sounds rather like when Williams, Benetton and BAR used the Renault-derived Mechachrome / Supertec engines back in the late 90’s / early 2000’s.

    So there is precedent there, and if anything maybe Bernie and Jean Todt should encourage this so even if there are no more manufacurers coming into F1 with the new engine regs, there is still some scope for engine development though the independant engine specialists and tuning firms.

    It’s kind of how they do in the BTCC with the TOCA engine package for the independants there.

    Maybe we might even see Cosworth back …

  21. If the Ilien/RedBull collaboration is true, I find it telling that Redbull were haggling tenaciously for a grab at the Merc and Ferrari engines. Perhaps to enable their in-house engine consultant Ilien glean spec secrets from their competitors’ PUs through 2016, then regain across-the-grid-trouncing dominance come 2017?

    I wonder…

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