Why 2016 will be even tougher for Red Bull

2016 F1 season

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Tomorrow Red Bull will reveal a new livery for their 2016 challenger. It will officially be referred to as a ‘Red Bull-Tag Heuer’ but beneath its restyled skin sits a Renault power unit once again.

The French V6 turbo hybrid was the chief source of frustration for the team last year. Team principal Christian Horner repeatedly criticised Renault’s failure to improve its performance, reliability and drive-ability as Red Bull endured its first win-less season since 2008.

Horner tried to court one of the other manufacturers to supply the team, though how realistic this was is a matter of dispute. Before the season even began he admitted Mercedes would “never” agree terms with Red Bull and that “you can only ever be a customer” with Ferrari.

But that customer-supplier relationship which Horner rejected is exactly what they will have with Renault now the French manufacturer has returned to F1 as a full constructor. Last month Helmut Marko argued Renault should prioritise Red Bull over its own factory squad but the manufacturer has not set up its own team in order to put Red Bull’s needs first.

Engine customers have to make do with what they’re given
Regardless of whether Red Bull begin the season beating Renault (and they probably will), expect to hear complaints that their performance is being diminished because Renault has put its Enstone-Viry team first. But this is how manufacturer-customer relationships operate elsewhere on the grid.

Customer teams are given the specifications for their engines with virtually no concessions made to their requirements. The Mercedes-Benz PU106B power unit was designed to fit in the back of a Mercedes-Benz W06 chassis and vice-versa. Williams, Force India and Lotus had to make do with what they were given.

Power unit manufacturers inevitably push the deadlines for building their engines as far as they dare in the pursuit of greater performance. Their in-house chassis builders are better placed to influence, anticipate and respond to these changes than customer teams, who will learn about the changes later on and tend to have fewer resources with which to respond. The solution is therefore more of a compromise and with that goes performance.

When it comes to making late changes to chassis designs, Red Bull’s wealth means they are far better equipped than a team like Force India or Sauber. This is why Renault has already admitted they have a challenging benchmark to measure themselves against.

But there are other reasons why engine customers find themselves at a disadvantage. While Bernie Ecclestone insists the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari give their customers “a lot less power” than they enjoy, the real picture is a little more complicated.

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In fact the manufactures are often at pains to point out their customers receive the same hardware they use. The differences tend to lie in other areas: software restrictions on how engines are operated, and the fuels and lubricants which allow them to achieve peak power and efficiency.

The latter has been a major area of development since the current power unit regulations were introduced in 2014. Mercedes and Petronas have made joint strides with Ferrari and Shell hot on their heels.

Red Bull won’t be Renault’s top priority this year
The restrictions manufacturers place on how their engines may be used by their customer teams is chiefly done to ensure their power units do not expire in clouds of smoke, which is not what the marketing men want to see. The software-controlled higher performance engine modes are more strictly limited for customer teams, placing them at a further disadvantage.

So while Red Bull can expect to get the same hardware as the Renault factory team, they may not be able to get as much out of it. And with reduced income from the likes of Renault-Nissan brand Infiniti – whose logo will occupy one of the most prominent positions on the RS16 – it will cost them more, too.

Red Bull’s predicament can be compared with McLaren’s six years ago. McLaren had enjoyed a decade and a half of success with Mercedes engines, but in 2010 Mercedes took over Brawn and became a full works team. It took three years for them to beat McLaren in the constructors’ championship, but by then the writing was on the wall.

McLaren split from Mercedes and forged a new deal with Honda as the sole recipient of its engines. Despite a difficult start, Ron Dennis stated time and again that to win championships under the current regulations a team must have a factory engine supplier.

Where can Red Bull go to get a deal of its own? The long-rumoured Volkswagen Group tie-up seems to be completely off the table following the company’s involvement in an emissions test scandal last year.

“Swiss engineering to close the gap next season” was the optimistic slogan Red Bull attached to the TAG-Heuer announcement. But even if the 2016 Renault engine proves a step forward in the short term, Red Bull’s long term pursuit of championship success will surely lead them somewhere else.

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Author information

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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83 comments on “Why 2016 will be even tougher for Red Bull”

  1. What about the pain that us fans have to endure for yet another year of Red Bull whining? 2016 is going to be tougher for us also

    1. Pain? Enjoyment more like

    2. …yet funnily enough, are happy to accept whining from other teams or themselves. It’s almost as if the *real* whining that drowns out all others is still from the all-too-large segment of the fanbase who are unable to handle their own teams having been beaten by an upstart with no heritage.

      I’d be happy to have a season without the endless whining about Red Bull’s “whining”.

      1. Let’s keep this train goin’. I’d like to whine about people whining about people whining about Red Bull’s whining.

        Pass the cheese.

      2. All the anti-red bull hate is worth it if it meant I was able to watch them block WDC after WDC from Alonso…


        Will be even sweeter if the next round of WDC denial comes from vettel and ferrari…

  2. I still don’t understand the point in this, initially I thought they would have the Renault engine as a base to work from but could make changes to it as it was now a different branded engine. They could then allow Ilmor to fix it the way they had wanted to in 2015 but Renault decided against and prove that their engine ideas where better. But from what I understand it will just be a re badged 2016 Renault engine. Will Red bull get to make any development changes to the Renault engine using the tokens Renault have at the start of the year or is this just a marketing exercise to save face for Red Bull and Renault

    1. I believe it is literally just a marketing exercise.

      Ilmor is a Renault contractor and will be working on the Renault power unit – not some Red Bull Tag-Heuer spin-off.

    2. They initialy wanted that, but FIA stoped that right from the start.

      Otherwise all teams could just use different brands to totaly bypass tokrn limitations.

      Now that tokens will be scraped… Maybe soon we will see more of these.

    3. @ck2000 I believe that the current regulations do not allow Red Bull to have their own spec of the engine. The 4 approved manufacturers submit an engine specification for 2016, it was decided that teams can also use 2015-spec engine (an approved engine from last season), but if a customer changes the engine it would be a 5th 2016 specification, as far as I understand…

      Only things they could play with is software (including the engine parametrization) and using a different fuel, I guess…

    4. The whole ‘RB developming PU’ story was a planted story at TJ13….

      The real story is their 2017 PU partner, Lamborghini, and the timeline was pushed back due to the emissions scandal at parent company VW.

      Red Bull is footing a large portion of the PU development bill so anyone saying VW cannot afford the program better look for a better excuse.

  3. VW’s F1 involvement will only be ‘off the table’ in the short term, whilst the scale of the problem is finally understood and payouts/fines resolved. Their main goal will be to get off the falsehood of ‘clean diesel’, which means scaling up their investment in either full-electric, petrol-electric hybrid or hydrogen.

  4. Strongly disagree with this article and some of the points made.

    And with reduced income from the likes of Renault-Nissan brand Infiniti – whose logo will occupy one of the most prominent positions on the RS16 – it will cost them more, too.

    That loss is compensated for by Tag Heuer.

    The differences tend to lie in other areas: software restrictions on how engines are operated, and the fuels and lubricants which allow them to achieve peak power and efficiency.

    Abiteboul has already openly stated that Red Bull will be given proper software and fuel, as soons as it gets available. This is because A) It was originally in their contract and B) Renault (also as stated) need Red Bull as a benchmark, and need them to help aid the development of the PU.

    Also the main source of all complains from last year was the lack of performance, reliablity and driveability of the PU. Lately both Renault and Red Bull have been reasonably positive about progress being made. If the new 2016 unit is at least decent, then that will reduce the complaining.

    In 2014 and 2015, Red Bull had their pre-season testing ruined by PU related issues (2014 RB also had issues themselves). This had a negative effect on their whole season. This year they’ll probably have a much better pre-season.

    With that said .. Red Bull won’t be able to challange for the championship. So I won’t argue they’ll be entirely happy.

    1. @me4me yeah but expect Renault to follow the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari once their team is fully up to speed, and they start giving Red Bull second-rate engines. It’s only logical.

      1. @fer-no65

        Right, at the moment the relationship is mutually beneficial, but when Renault (if they ever make it) is able to fight for wins on a regular basis, they will likely do what you are saying here.

        However I am sure RBR knows this, and they are already working on some other plan when that should be the case in 2 to 3 years.

        1. @fer-no65, @skylien I fully agree. It’s a matter of time before Renault starts prioritizing their own team. It probably starts in 2017, when they are able to build their own “Renault” car and fully integrate the PU whatever way they desire. Also Red Bull has no contract for 2017, so they can’t demand equal threatment. But like I said, for 2016 they’ll probably be fine.

    2. @me4me The problem with your statements concerning Cyril Abiteboul is that he never said anything about fuel or software. If you have an article in which he specifically mentions fuel and software I’d like to see it.
      From Motorsport.com

      “Exactly the same. Actually we have an obligation from the regulations to supply exactly the same equipment,” said Abiteboul.

      “But there will not be any form of branding or marketing association for obvious reasons,” he added.

      “In terms of continuity – there will be the same faces you have seen last year, there will be the same faces in the Red Bull garage. They will be dressed different but the faces will be the same.”

      Abiteboul said Red Bull will also get the same upgrades as Renault.

      “You always need to manage the pool of engines, and maybe we are out of sync with what we are doing for the Renault team and what we are doing for the Red Bull team because of the introduction of the engine,” he said.

      “But the philosophy of Renault and the obligation from the regulation perspective is to have exactly one technical specification. If we have upgrades they will have upgrades too.

      “The works team is Renault, obviously, so we will design and specific the engine for the Renault team and they will have exactly the same.”

      He says they’ll get the same basic hardware and upgrades whenever they are available, not a single word about fuel or software, which is what would make this factory support, which it obviously isn’t.

      Renault is doing exactly what Ferrari and Mercedes are doing with their customers, and honestly, within the cofounds of the regulations they’d be idiots not to.

  5. petebaldwin (@)
    16th February 2016, 13:46

    The software-controlled higher performance engine modes are more strictly limited for customer teams, placing them at a further disadvantage.

    …. and therefore, should not exist.

    1. Yeah I fail to see how Red Bull will come to winning ways again under this set of regulations. Once the Renault team is up to speed, they’ll get second-grade software.

      To rules should be rewritten so that customer teams are guaranteed to not only receive the same hardware but also the same software and have equal access to optimal fuel.

    2. There should not be software limits – any customer should be free to dance the ragged edge if that what they want to do – Marketing people be damned.

      1. I would have to agree.

        Personally, I would say that a customer is told the recommended maximum usage of high engine modes, but can use them as much as they wish. Their use is logged, and fed back to the manufacturer as raw miles/mode. If the team exceed the recommendation and their engine blows up, the manufacturer can say “they exceeded safe limits, it would have been fine if they didn’t” to reduce the potential bad press from it.

  6. The restrictions manufacturers place on how their engines may be used by their customer teams is chiefly done to ensure their power units do not expire in clouds of smoke, which is not what the marketing men want to see.

    Well, that’s the justification that the manufacturers give for disadvantage get their (competing) customers, but I don’t buy it. How many times did the factory Mercedes or Ferarri engines expire last year, running at full juice?

    1. iPad fail. “Disadvantaging”

      1. @tdog Assuming ‘full juice’ implies during a race, I believe a factory Merc/Ferrari car failed just thrice due to a PU component:

        Raikkonen at Hungary (ERS)
        Rosberg at Monza (turbo)
        Hamilton at Singapore (unspecified)

        1. @craig-o, Hamilton’s failure in Singapore was confirmed to be due to a broken seal on the turbocharger unit, causing a loss in boost pressure and therefore a loss in power. The failure wasn’t due to the engine being run at a higher boost pressure though – it was down to a broken jubilee clip, which could have happened on any engine.

  7. I look forwards to another Redbull disaster season and the ever tragic owners crying and moaning….oh how I laugh. Its a gift that keeps giving.

    1. Haha, I like the nihilism in you. :)

    2. Why do you hate a company which owns two teams and brings fresh blood in the sport this bad?

      1. Demanding a competitive engine from their ex-rivals, devaluing F1 for the last 2 seasons.

      2. but i don’t want to see them leave, even tho it would be cheaper.

  8. Somewhere I read Red Bull (Helmut Marko if I remember correctly) saying that Renault will give them the same software as it’s manufacturer team will use. So I guess Red Bull will not be at a disadvantage in this area.

    I also think that their aerodynamics might be the best this year. Last year they had to cope with changed nose regulations which hindered them severely. But they solved this problem and can move forward in creating tons of downforce. Besides, tailpipe regulations has changed this year and we all know how clever they are in exploiting this area. It’s a possibility that they’ll find silver bullet in that and with reduced engine performance gap that might be enough for them to challenge for victories.

    1. that is in Renault’s best interest, they will fail this year as chassis/engine sowhy not give a better chassis their best engine, to at least keep the Renault name from complete failure. in other words, redbull will give Renault better results then Team Renault will.

  9. The Renault engine will be better this year, surely. The others will be better too but I reckon in percentage terms the deficit will be smaller.

    Next year is the big issue. There isn’t time to create a new engine. A VW engine is wishful thinking, when the data, and Carlos Ghosn, says the Merc model is what pays.

    What I haven’t seen is how the ‘compulsory supply’ of an engine from among the four manufacturers is supposed to work. I sense that Merc and Ferrari will have found a way to get out of it, maybe with supplying 3 other teams already. Renault will have had enough unless their historic status deal with Bernie depends on it.

    Does Ron still have a veto next year, anyone seen? If not it’s Honda. I can only grin in anticipation of Horner and Marko versus “leave us alone we know what we’re doing” Honda with their stubbornly undersize turbo that everyone else can see (and hear from Andy Cowell) is never, ever, going to have the efficiency.

    1. @lockup thanks for this, it’s good to know that at least someone without extensive experience designing and manufacturing engines knows better than these silly upstarts at Honda.

      Obviously these no-names are never going to succeed.

      1. I understand Andy Cowell has some experience at least, @captainpie ;)

  10. with Redbull’s money they should have bought Cosworth which already have a 1.6 turbo ready for 2014 but no customers got interested. they should have funded that last year, of course it might even be worst than Honda but with their money, they can fund cosworth to develop it faster

    1. Yeah but Red Bull have as much budget as Ferrari and Merc but want to spend nearly all of it on the aero. If they built their own engines they would have to split budget between aero and engine like Merc and Ferrari and that is un fair because then Red Bull cannot out spend Ferrari and Merc on aero. This is the team that want a 200 million pound a year engine for around 10 million. Cannot blame them I want a new Ferrari road car for £20,000.

      1. markp, asides from that, Cosworth is a financial disaster at the moment given they have been losing money hand over fist for the past few years – it’d cost around £30 million a year to merely make Cosworth break even.

      2. From an accounting perspective, it does not make sense as the R&D cannot be capitalised as Redbull don’t make cars.
        Hence the engine would only be for racing and all the R&D would be passed of as cost,which means if it cost $200m to develop the engine, it’s $200m down the drain every season.

        Also Ferrari and Mercedes don’t have that $200m as part of their budget for F1, it’s with the engine department, so any amount you hear they spend is based on chassis not chassis and engine!

  11. a few other websites are stating Redbull will just do the rounds this year, run the races at 4th 5th best, because they a planning a new assault from 2017 with a Volkswagen collaboration which will have Lamborghini branded engines for Red Bull – “a meeting of the bulls”. it seems credible – making an engine for the best chassis maker in F1 currently (Redbull) would be VW’s best way of entering the sport. it is a risk though, Mercedes have been developing there current engine since 2011, and look how Honda has faired entering this ridiculous era where development is so restricted… but with the token system being removed from next year, and development is so much more free… I wouldn’t go past these rumors… there is NO WAY IN HELL redbull willstay with Renault in a multi year partnership, this year is a stop gap with the Tag Huaer labelling.

  12. It will officially be referred to as a ‘Red Bull-Tag Heuer’

    Funny name, although it will be interesting to see how many commentators get the pronunciation wrong!

    1. Maybe one name from each company. Red- Heuer, Red-Tag, I like Bull-Tag I think.

      1. If only Maersk Shipping Line sponsored the engine instead of TAG we could of had Bull-Shipping which is really similar to something Red Bull management tend to do.

    2. @mantresx Funnily enough I recently read an old Motorsport column from the early eighties where Denis Jenkinson insisted on referring to the McLaren-TAGs as McLaren-Porsches. The same applies here…

  13. As Renault get competitive they will drop RBR. RBR are not gonna be winning a championship for a while. Who knows DM might just take his toys away.

    1. He’ll probably stay around until 2020 and then will go away when his contract with Bernie expires. It would be sad if they go because they are pushed out by the regulations.

      1. Well he might as-well just leave now then, it’s much much cheaper.

        1. Nope, BE would have to be payed about half a billion. And RB wouldn’t have any coverage

          1. Paying half a billion to have zero coverage is a pretty bad deal and DM knows that

  14. Mark in Florida
    16th February 2016, 16:22

    Well if Red Bull are relying on TAG Heuer to add some Swiss precision they may be referring to the calibre 36 movement. It’s much more precise running at 5 Hz instead of 4 Hz. That should help them immensely. Now then how are they going to integrate that ? Hmmm.

  15. New season, new complaints, same old Red Bull.

    They could come in first behind Merc every race and the whinging would still be louder than a F1 engine.

  16. Interesting to read all the comments here.
    The article contains exactly zero quotes from RBR, yet we still accuse them of whinging, whining, and moaning.
    Maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt first!

    1. @coldfly in all fairness they’ve been whining for two years now. Isn’t it reasonable to think they will this year too? :)

      1. Depends entirely on Renault.

      2. @spoutnik maybe i’m an optimist with rose-tinted spectacles looking at a glass half full. ;-)

    2. I would happily admit to being wrong in exchange for a season without massive whinging from the Red Bull triumvirate.

  17. It definitely seems that this is nothing more than a stop-gap year for Red Bull whilst they try and convince a manufacturer that joining is a good idea. However I’m really unsure who they will be able to convince. Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini (part of the Volkswagen Group) are almost certainly out of the question right from the off due to the scandal which Keith mentioned.

    I’m not sure whether Chevrolet would be interested given F1’s apparent rise in the United States, but Honda also came across as an IndyCar engine manufacturer and has failed spectacularly so far. I also highly doubt that V6HT power units are on Chevrolet’s agenda when it comes to their road car division.

    When it comes to previous manufacturers who were involved in F1, could BMW or Toyota be outside shots? The latter is in the WEC right now but the two fought together in F1 as recently as 2008, so I can’t see why it should be ruled out.

    If they really do want to spite Renault, they could always go with another French manufacturer: Citroen and Peugeot might both be available.

    Either way, one way or another, should Red Bull want to be winning races and championships again, a manufacturer must be found.

    1. Ilmor makes Chevrolet Indy car engine, Red bull could pay Volkswagen group to make them engine.

    2. @craig-o, Peugeot and Citroen are effectively one and the same (the two companies combined to form the PSA Peugeot Citroën group after Peugeot bought up Citroen in the 1970’s). PSA Peugeot Citroën are also in dire financial straights – they’ve been seeking investment from the Chinese government recently as part of a tie up with Dongfeng – which was why they axed their LMP1 project a few years ago.

      1. Yeah @craig-o they’re out of time too unless someone has an engine in development already. I haven’t seen anything but wishful thinking about that.

        And why would anyone? Renault are on record saying they got poor value out of supplying engines to Red Bull even when they were winning, and Toto is on record saying how Mercedes are minting it to the tune of €3bn of exposure by winning with their own fully branded team.

        IF VW came in surely it would be to go head to head with Mercedes, with their own team named for volume premium brand AudiF1. I’m not sure the diesel thing is an issue though, in that done the Merc way it’s an investment to increase sales, not a cost item. And VW need sales atm.

        1. “Mercedes are minting it to the tune of €3bn of exposure by winning with their own fully branded team.”

          This to me is absolute nonsense, has Mercedes made 3bn euros extra sale? No since they started winning in F1 how many extra cars have they sold compared to years they were not winning, or in F1?

  18. Red Bull’s bluff was caught, so this article is RB’s scenario. Red Bull got off worse than they needed to.
    I think RB’s pride is evident in the re-branding of their Renault PU. I think RB and F1 needed to refuse running an year old PU for a team as such as RBR, to take an outdated engine would mean complete defeat even if that could led to more performance. I don’t agree that RB is going to invoke Renault’s name no more. I think they have their pride, they refuse to call their PU renault’s, they were never going to have a shot at winning. I think you’re right 2016 is going to be tougher, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the company change priorities to STR as this team is posed to become a nuisance to Merc and Ferrari.

  19. As Patrick (@paeschli) said, it depends entirely on Renault.

    They (RB) had every reason to express their dissatisfaction with Renault the past 2 years, they didn´t do until the last year though when it became clear that Renault had failed them miserably once again and refused all help from RB (besides wanting more money).

    Anyways, I think that we could see Honda engines in both RB and STR next year. That said, if Honda can produce a competitive engine.

  20. I can never quite decide whether RedBull are perpetually angry that car’s have engines, or just that
    Red Bull don’t make engines?

    Either way, I’m getting fed up hearing it.

    Either make your own engine, or buy one from someone who makes them. Decide.

    You can’t complain that if you buy one from Ferrari you buy are a customer. Of course you are. If you
    don’t want to be a customer make one, or act sufficiently sweetly (either in euro’s, nice things
    said, or both of these) that someone like Audi or Renault makes one for you.
    They WERE Renault’s top team for a while, but couldn’t weather the storm with them, and now
    moan they won’t be Renault’s top team next year.

    That simple really.

    1. “They WERE Renault’s top team for a while, but couldn’t weather the storm with them, and now
      moan they won’t be Renault’s top team next year.”

      Imagine you’re RB, the definition of fierce competition. You’ve never once rested on your laurels and continuously develop and push the boundaries of software and engineering. You’ve also gone out of your way to build the best racing academy and secure the top talent of the decade.

      Then your engine supplier decides to employ half the people that MERC/Fer are (with regards to power unit) and on top of that your PU supplier consistently delivers updates that either dont work or go negative in performance.

      Would you take the high road? Doubt it.

      Hat’s off to RB for putting up with the laziest partner in the history of F1 as well as they have so far…

      BTW Renault were LUCKY to be in the back of the RB, not the other way around, never heard Renault thank RB once for 8 championships.

      1. So much bad-faith…. You cannot compare Renault as motorist to Merc/Fer as full team, this is a non-sense. At least make comparison that make sense and use another motorist like Honda for the benchmark. Red-bull has the same budget as Mercedes/Ferrari and never wanted to share the burden of the engine price with Renault, whereas everyone knew those new PU was expensive as hell. Instead they wanted to have everything on aero and are moaning since then the rules favour too much the engines. While I confess Renault hasn’t been great and mess-up a lot of things, Red-Bull manage to make me hate them in a period of one years (I did like the team before 2014).

        So much stupid and silly comments from them, absolutely no fair play and complete lack of respects for their partners. Moaning and whining all weeks-ends, really they looked like a bunch of princess. I think it’s great to have them in F1, but I am quite happy to see them struggling.

  21. Sorry off topic. With all due respect to Ron, the reason that McLaren had to search for an other works engine supplier is because they were simply not good enough for Mercedes. Brawn’s success in 09′(beating the works team) opened Mercedes’s eyes, they realized what they need to do to win championships: they have to ditch Mclaren ASAP and become a full works team themselves. They were not wrong, they are now already more successful than the decade and half with Mclaren. Current regulations or not, had Mclaren been more successful in the decade and half and never been beaten by a customer team, IMO Mercedes would still be their works supplier. For McLaren to say they have to have works engine to win is like a mid field teams saying they have to have top driver to win, and that time and time again…

    Now that Mclaren have a factory supplier, are they a better team now? Looking at the pitstops not so much… Anyway, getting rid of Whitmarsh was an excellent decision. Another question is Honda good enough tough, all Japanese talents vs the international talents at Mercedes, the odd are certainly there I think.

  22. Keith – The real story is RB’s PU supplier in 2017, I think a story like the one above is good to get out of the way as openly states what the next 12months is going to look like for RB, however, when can we start talking about the PU supplier who Horner said contracts are signed with?

    1. the PU supplier who Horner said contracts are signed with?

      Got a link please Mr X?

      1. many sites (i think even this site) reported the following quote to which Horner was answering a question about RB’s 2017 power unit options. Google it.

        Horner says of the deal which involves parties that can’t yet be named “It’s difficult for me to say at the moment, without being able to announce what our engine plans are, but I believe we should be in a better position, everything’s open. I think a lot of things are going to change.”

        It’s also understood that the Tag-Heuer branded Renault engine deal is a 1 year stop-gap deal to tide Red Bull over until this newly announced deal can come in to effect.


        1. Hmmm I dunno Mr X. There seems to be some doubt about how specific Horner was being. He doesn’t say anything about signed contracts, just ‘plans’ and ‘I believe’. That isn’t any more concrete than when he thought he had a Mercedes engine, really. It would be an exciting development, for sure, but maybe that’s why it’s such a tempting rumour – that the mainstream sites haven’t picked up, so far.

          1. The question has been asked of Keith, “when can we start talking about the PU supplier who Horner said contracts are signed with”?

            It would seem some already are, including Keith who for now seems to think the VW thing is not on. I personally don’t think their legal woes need necessarily prevent other projects from going forward.

            Horner speaks of Todt making it a personal project to solve the engine issues in F1, and also speaks of the new regs for 2017 creating opportunities for teams, so it is hard to say right now what Horner meant when he said in late December that things could change in ‘3 or 4 months’.

            Whether that change is because he expects Merc to have competition from Ferrari, or the Renault engine might be better, or finalization on the direction for 2017 wrt engine and rules will have been made clear is hard to say right now as he was vague, so we’ll just have to see.

            But if RBR’s new engine supplier is to step it up with PU staff equal to Merc and Ferrari (since Renault has been criticized for only having half the staff they do) that tells me that it will become apparent very quickly that VW or Audi or Lambo or whoever, has amassed a staff and will be working closely with RBR very soon if they have any hopes of being ready for 2017, and that will only be the start of the growing pains. That kind of staff and marriage will not be easy to hide for long.

          2. Yep @robbie I too suspect that if there were a big new engine operation going on somewhere we’d have heard about it. And normally the reason something hasn’t been announced is that it hasn’t been signed, and normally if something hasn’t been signed it’s because the parties haven’t finally agreed yet. After all there’s free publicity available right now, when everyone’s gagging for any kind of F1 news, and the word “VW-Audi” could really do with being linked to something positive.

          3. @Robbie – Google embargo.

            Speaking of Google, I live in Silicon Valley are, you have no idea how hard it is to bury major projects.

            VW would have no problem camoflaging a minor program that only employees a few hundred people.

          4. Anyways, my question was at Keith, not you. If you dont find RB’s 2017 PU plans interesting then dont comment, I’m sure you have something better to do with your time.

            This year is a wash, RB is stuck with whatever PU Renault’s growing team can produce and my interest is what happens next. I’m sure I’m not the only one interested in this development as it’s sure to play a HUGE part of the 2017 pecking order. Keith can we expect a story on this anytime soon?

        2. going forward, if you’re unable to do your own research or learn how to use google, don’t ask me to do it for you.

          This is why my question wasn’t directed at arm chairs but towards Keith.

          I’m curios if there is an embargo in place already.

          James Allen stated it would be Honda in 2017 – mention Lamborghini on his website and expect your comment moderated.

          Either way – all this season does is highlight what a crap PU red bull has had to suffer with and a partner unable to make forward progress in 4 years of development. After all it’s Renaults own words, “we don’t have any more ideas.”

          The real story is the next chapter for red bull. I want to start talking about it is all.

          1. if you’re unable to do your own research or learn how to use google, don’t ask me to do it for you.

            It was an opportunity for you to back up your claim about signed contracts Mr X, is all.

            I can satisfy your curiosity about embargos – they only apply to press releases. News is free, and on RBR’s 2017 engine it seems there isn’t any, just yet.

          2. @lockup – LOL. That’s not how embargo’s work in the real world but i’m glad to see google is now a tool at your disposal.

            Anyways, let’s summarize your position. Red Bull will be using Renault PU’s in 2017 because we dont have a “publicly named” engine partner yet.

            Your side vs my side.. I like things binary.

          3. Maybe you should google F1 Fanatic and read a couple of RBR/Renault related articles referenced under the main heading about Vettel going kart racing.

          4. @Robbie – there you go mate, you solved it! Red Bull said something nice about Renault so that completely erases the fact Horner stated they have a new engine supplier for 2017.

            You’re F1F’s very own Sherlock!

          5. Well Watson, you’ve provided nothing but one quote of Horner saying he is unable to announce their engine plans, and have decided for yourself that has to mean Lambo, which could actually mean it is because they don’t know yet, and after googling the same article from which you’ve selected the quote that best suits your speculation, I noticed he was talking about change coming from new regs and from Todt talking about engines. Keith has at least twice in recent days made reference that the VW/Audi/Lambo thing seems to not be happening. I’ll take Keith’s opinion over your armchair one any day.

  23. …expect to hear complaints…

    should have been the title… and will be the title of Red Bull’s every press release when they’ll finish below podium and threat to quit F1 again this year.

  24. …with the Renault engine.

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