Red Bull-Honda in 2019? Renault to end engine deal

2019 F1 season

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Renault will end its engine supply deal with Red Bull at the end of next season in a move which has huge ramifications for the F1 driver market according to a report in Auto Motor und Sport.

The French manufacturer has decided to end the supply arrangement to the team with which it swept the championship titles between 2010 and 2013.

With Mercedes and Ferrari unwilling to supply engines to their front-running rivals and no new manufacturers expected to enter F1 soon, that could force Red Bull to pick up Honda engines in 2019.

Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso is tipped to take over McLaren’s Honda engine deal next year as McLaren are expected to break off their partnership with Honda to join Renault.

Honda has struggled with its Formula One engine programme since it returned to the sport in 2015. McLaren, the only team which uses its power units, lies ninth in the constructors’ championship.

If Honda fails to make significant progress next year Red Bull’s drivers may be targeted by rival teams. Both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have expressed dissatisfaction with the car’s performance and reliability this year, but moving to Honda is widely expected to be a step backwards.

Red Bull’s relationship with Renault deteriorated in 2015 as it endured a win-less season. It repeatedly criticised the manufacturer’s hardware but was forced to continue using it as no alternatives were available. TAG Heuer has branded Red Bull’s Renault power units since last season.

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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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129 comments on “Red Bull-Honda in 2019? Renault to end engine deal”

  1. Ha, still something unexpected then. Renault not willing to be the second in line if Honda does not deliver. Then again, one would hope that the target for both Honda and Red Bull already was to get the Honda good for 2019 anyway.

    1. In long term POV, I agree with this idea, Honda has nothing to do but to proof that they are as good as in MotoGP, they were champions in 80’s era, but mediocre with BAR ….and now, if they quite (again) the world might never give their respect to their engine, because the future of autoindustry will be hybrid engine or pure electric …..if Honda failed with this V-6T Hybrid, where else they will compete ? LeMans? Formula E? …. It is Honda, not Cosworth, not Mechachrome …..and for sure, red Bull need to raise their styandard, they are best on chassis and aero, but remain ‘weaks’ in term of power unit ….. they wont be a champion within 2-3 years, but they must assure Honda to work together to develop the monster engine …. Red Bull Technology needs some other toy to play with, engine development …. and I will not shocked if someday they build their own hypercar

      1. Or ….they will choose Cosworth for 2021 ….who knows

  2. I guess this shows that from Renault’s perspective the relationship with RBR is still as strained as it was. In other words they were happy to exchange Red Bull + STR for a less “toxic” Mclaren (who afterall never were as openly critisizing Honda as RBR has been doing, and they had more reason to do so)

    1. McLaren (and Alonso) are as toxic as it gets, ask Honda….

      1. Imagine how toxic Horner and RB would be if Renault was as bad as Honda

      2. Alonso, maybe. But McLaren has been very nice to Honda, compared to how big a failure they were.

        But RBR? Hell, even Alonso has been constrained compared to them.

      3. @jeffreyj
        Alonso, yes, but McLaren has always spoken in the we term and expressed belief the problems would be overcome.

        1. I’m frankly amazed at McLarens patience, but that has been purchased by Honda to the tune of $100 per year. I just think their patience ran out. For all those who follow Bernie’s line that it was “all McLarens fault” I say BS! F1 is a serious business and to paraphrase a famous Japanese gentleman in a movie clip “this is not a game of cricket”. McLaren were many times over entitled to much better product than that which they received. Let’s not mince our words here – Honda have been appalling. By comparison, Renault who admittedly screwed up at the beginning of this engine era, took just half a season to get it running at a better rate than it’s taken Honda 3 years to the same level.

          1. That is the most consice condemnation I have seen of honda. And the worse thing, is they don’t seem to understand that the pace of development in F1 is 2 or 3 steps faster than they are prepared to move. That more than anything I suspect is why McLaren said enough is enough. You can only offer your partner advise for so long, but if they give the impression that they will only heed it only when a gun is help to their heads.

      4. Mclaren as toxic as Red bull?!? Did you watch the 2015 season at all?

        Renault were never as rubbish as Honda. Renault were never considered a partner in the Red bull Renault racing team even after playing an important role in their 4 championships.

        As rubbish as Honda were Mclaren always treated them as team members up until they realised that there is no hope for the them to turn things around. If you think Horner would be as patient with Honda, you’re clearly kidding yourself.

        I love the fact that Renault is ending the partnership. I’m fairly confident that Honda will still remain rubbish and that would make for some interesting interviews with Horner and the Red bull team.

        1. Red Bull are toxic – complain publically, then forced into using the engines, re-brand them TAG , but still publically criticise Renault

      5. You don’t think Alonso & McLaren have reasons to be miffed at every turn after 3 years or embarrassments.

  3. RBR can find themselfes in a very tricky condition.As it seems the doors with Renault will be closed & unlike 2015 they wont open again(with the factory team on the grid).If Honda doesnt improve in 2018,then RBR might find themselfes in the position McLaren was from 2015-2017…

    1. Hope Porsche busy them in 2021.

      1. Or Helmut Marko will make good on his promise to leave F1.

  4. Well I’m going to miss Red Bull.

    1. Me too. Having them is good for f1. With a good engine they’d be right up there with mercedes and ferrari making it a three-way fight. But sadly the current engine spec is only good for big car manufacturers. No point being a strong independent f1 team because nobody wants to sell you an engine if you are too good.

      1. They’re not going anywhere unless they have a competitive engine. The team without a viable PU would be next to worthless, and money, as we know, is very close to RBR’s heart.

      2. @socksolid, The problem with Red Bull is not that they are “too good”, but that they are as toxic as it gets. Even when they were winning back to back championships with Renault engines, Renault was constantly made to look like a poor engine supplier by Horner et al.

        Of course it’s just they way they seem to do things there. Utterly exaggerate a small negative in an effort to try and get the rule makers to listen and perhaps clear it away, but it still looks extremely bad for their partners.

        Renault were down less than 2% on power at the end of the V8 era and Horner made it sound like they were 20% down (with fake data to “prove” it). Also forgetting that it was Renault’s low fuel consumption that gained them more time than the few horse power they had less. Let alone the advanced work Renault did with the blown diffusor and the great driveability of their engine.

        Barring one or two high performance tracks, Renault were the top engine at the time, but as a unobservant observer you might get the idea that it was despite of Renault that they won those titles. That it was Horner who singlehandedly managed to drag this dog of an engine across the tracks and win them the WDC.

        Besides, Mercedes actually offered Red Bull an engine. Obviously with the requirement that Mercedes would get something out of it. They wanted to appeal to a younger demographic. So for starters they wanted no rebadged engines and there shouldn’t be any bad blood (Mateschitz and Horner had been particularly negative about Mercedes). Low and behold, the first thing Mateschitz does is to go to Ferrari and see if he can get a better deal there!

        Ferrari then declined and by then Mercedes rightfully had had enough of them too. It’s just a lose-lose situation supplying Red Bull with engines. That much was clear.

        If Red Bull was able to handle themselves more maturely and their standard practice was not to throw their partners under the bus, then maybe they could get a good engine deal.

        1. Red bull’s wins with renault engine were 100% because of their excellent car. Even with renault’s power deficit red bull was able to win. Renault’s power deficit was realy just like you said. Maybe they had little bit better fuel efficiency but what won red bull their championships was the car. The engine was holding them back. You have pretty selective memory anyways. If renault was so amazing then why did fia grant renault special liberty in 2008 to upgrade their engine to bring it up to the level of the other engines? You keep hating red bull but at least let’s not forget the facts.

          Red bull was right to complain in 2015. The renault engine was total garbage and renault was not doing anything to fix it. Renault literally had a horrible engine and chose to not develop the engine so they had many tokens unused very late in the season. And their upgrades were so bad red bull did not even want to use them. Renault needed a solid kick to their nuts. At the time I was sure renault was simply planning to leave f1 at the end of the year and did not care about red bull or any of their customers. Then things changed and renault decided they wanted to be a factory team in f1.

          2015 was horrible year for red bull just because of the totally horrible renault engine.

          1. @socksolid, no, the Renault V8 definitely wasn’t holding the car back in the way that you seem to think it was – on the contrary, once you took into account the overall package (in terms of cooling requirements, fuel consumption, the relative breadth of the usable power curve, not to mention the major advantages that came with the exhaust blowing engine maps that were impossible for other engine manufacturers to replicate), Newey reportedly preferred the Renault V8 to all of the other engines on the grid and vetoed an attempt by Horner to replace it with the Mercedes V8.

            The University of Cologne also published their own independent research into the V8 engines which confirmed that Horner was exaggerating the claimed power deficit by at least a factor of two, and that the Renault’s higher fuel efficiency was indeed large enough that it was just as competitive as the Mercedes V8 (they ranked Ferrari’s engine below that of the Mercedes and Renault V8’s, so if any team was being held back by their engine, it was more likely to be Ferrari than Red Bull).

        2. I don’t really recall them being hard on Renault until the format with the current pu’s changed for 2014. And I’m sure Mercedes and Ferrari weren’t exactly going to make it easy for RBR to have an engine supply from them. If anything RBR showed us that the top teams consider them a threat. I wouldn’t blame RBR for not getting Mercedes or Ferrari pu’s, other than to blame them for being too good, even with a bad PU behind them.

          1. If ferrari and mercedes did not have their own team in F1 they would be fighting to their last breath over who gets the red bull engine contract. Both would bend over backwards to get that deal. But because they do have their own teams they simply want to do anything that makes red bull slower. Merc and ferrari are in 100% control over the engines in the grid and both of them are doing everything to stay on control and make sure no competitive team gets their engines.

          2. That’s OK, but Horner was pretty much constantly demanding “engine parity”. And indeed they got their wish several times to upgrade the Renault engines while the others were not allowed to do so.

            Even if not that, they were stressing how much time they lost on the straights due to the poor Renault engine power. Or how overtaking was impossible because of this (while you could clearly hear the rev limiter kicking in on the straights so they limited themselves on top speed)

            When of course that same engine did give them better laptimes because of lower fuel consumption (less fuel to carry around) and superior blown diffusor implementation.

            Mercedes genuinely offered Red Bull an engine. Mercedes Benz thought it would be a good idea apparently and sent Lauda over. You’d think that Mateschitz would grab the opportunity with both hands, but in fact he went to Ferrari first and killed whatever chance they had on that Mercedes engine.

  5. The beginning of the end of Red Bull in F1. Unless Honda has a fabulous season with STR next year Verstappen and Ricciardo won’t stay to see if the 2019 car is any good. Without star power they become a midfield team and suddenly very appealing to buy. Maybe someone comes in. Maybe not. But Mateschitz won’t continue without top drivers and a decent car. Unless Honda performs a miracle the team is dead.

    1. Red Bull / Mateschitz WILL stay in F1 at least until the 2020 season @hahastolze. Remember, when they signed their last deal with FOM Bernie tied that with the obligation of not just the teams, but also the owners to stay committed to the sport until then with solid fines for not heeding the agreement.

      1. that’s assuming the contract is worth the paper it’s written on.

        1. Remember, this is a contract that Bernie negotiated – one he was personally interested in making rock solid.

          I think that is quite solid, otherwise Mateschitz might have already pulled out after 2014. It is worth the money on the bills that will have to be paid.

      2. Those solid fines have been agreed to get much smaller as we approach 2020, so the barriers to exit are not as high as they once were.

        1. The fine is still $100,000,000 a year which will sting regardless of who you are. Mateshitz is wealthy, but he’s not stupid, he won’t pull out before 2020.

          1. Gene Haas recently said that “it was no secret” that each car entered cost $60M, i.e. $120M every year. So, regarded in that light a fine of $100M per year saves you $20M… …and that’s for a team such as Haas. ;-)

          2. Henrik, you forget that the RBR team gets a LOT of money yearly from FOM as well as having sponsors paying a large part of the bills. I think currently Mateschitz really isn’t paying more than 40-50 million towards the RBR budget. I think STR costs him more money (as they have no sponsorship to speak of), so that is why he is happy to save money on the engine bills with Honda

    2. Verstappen has a contract for 2019 with RBR. The 2019 optreden out close is only eligable if RBR are not in the top three constructors. According to dutch media the Verstappen camp is trying to change that cause into a ‘top 3 drivers’ but RBR don’t want to cooperate.

      The only RBR driver who is truely free to go where ever he wants after 2018 is Daniel.

      1. Yeah, don’t for one second think Verstappen won’t do everything possible to force an exit

        1. If a driver doesn’t want to drive for a team it’s awfully hard to force him. Then it comes down to money, and assuming Max isn’t yet in the huge money bracket it will be worth it for Max’s new team to buy him out of his contract if indeed it actually has to come to that.

          1. No it won’t. Him buying himself out of his contract will cost a bit. Better to let the performance clauses take effect, before asking or should I say demanding to leave.

        2. And Ricciardo will be doing the same.
          But where will Max or Dan go?
          Merc is fine with HAM and BOT and RED has VET and he will have probably have a say who RAI successor will be and you can bet it won’t be either of them.
          Bottom line is one or both of these may be mid fielders at best in a couple of years unless Red Bull and Honda make huge progress.
          This is the ugly side of F1….the top 2 or 3 teams rule and unless you are lucky enough to drive for them you’re screwed.
          Ask Alonso.

    3. I get the feeling RBR may end up treading water for a few years until 2021, where hopefully the talked-about Porsche buyout happens and the team becomes a full factory outfit

      1. I agree. I thing 2020 will be the big year for driver changes. The formula rules would have been agreed I think, and drivers and their advisers will be trying to determine who is likely to have the better power unit package.

    4. Good analysis @hahostolze, yet also this is a sad day for motor racing. (That being said, has anyone ever drank a Redbull drink without being somewhat disgusted? (I mean, sober?)) Hopefully this fine team will be taken over by an excellent factory operation. This must be a busy time for Verstappen’s people.

  6. Porsche can’t come soon enough for RBR!

    1. Speculation nothing concrete

  7. I don’t care which team or engine maker does it but someone needs to be on par with Mercedes asap

    1. Ferrari already are.

      1. But that might be it for the next two or three years. Hopefully for 2019 both Merc and Ferrari move away from a number one and natural number two format, but I won’t hold my breath. Next hope is that they at least start to evolve the cars aerodynamically for closer racing to try to make up for what could be a pretty static F1 for the foreseeable future. Come on Renault, get on a big upswing please. Come on Honda, sort it out. Come on Porsche, please enter F1.

      2. Merc are in a different league in raw performance on the majority of circuits.

        1. They weren’t until Baku. Last few races it looks like Ferrari dropped back a bit again after their oil burning system was banned, but it could also just be the low downforce setup which suits them better than Ferrari.

          In Spa Ferrari should have won the race, but due to several mistakes in strategy/car setup they lost.

          Mercedes also claimed that while at Monza they found something in the setup of the car that gave them extra performance in low downforce trim. Which would explain why Mercedes was so much faster in Monza whiel Ferrari were faster in Spa.

          So it doesn’t even have to be the engine that made them jump further ahead. Hamilton was fastest on a wet track in Q3 too. And by a huge margin. That really wasn’t due to the engine as Red Bull with their Renault engine were suddenly very competitive too.

    2. With a simpler formula for after 2021. I agree. Most of the power units could be much of muchness. (If that’s a word)

  8. This is the start of the end for Red Bull as a team, as it’s been reported…

    1. Its a shame but contract or not, Mateschitz won’t fund a team who can’t finish a race and F1 forcing them to compete against their wishes will cause more harm than good. Can you imagine how they’d talk about the sport if that was the case!?

      1. I doubt RBR would make fools of themselves. They might have negative things to say and take it back to the new gen PU’s and the token system and other restrictions that have held them back, but I think they will not want to look like children and instead will make comments such that many will have to admit they see their point. They won’t hurt their own brand wth too much petulance. They will boil it down to a change in direction that F1 took that has forced their hand. Many on this site have complained about the current format, the tokens, the lack of noise, etc etc. and look forward to a change in format and a better F1. I think the word ‘toxic’ is starting to get overused, but RBR will not want to appear toxic nor bitter…they’ll have solid arguments for whatever decisions they make going forward.

  9. Well, Red Bull’s future doesn’t look so bright now does it? Previously, people were speaking of Red Bull being the beneficiary of Toro Rosso’s move to Honda engines as they would have the choice of moving over to be the works Honda team IF they became competivie. Now, they could be as bad as they are now, and Red Bull would be forced into it nevertheless. I simply don’t believe Honda will be competitive in 2018, and that’s likely to continue in 2019 (albeit with a reduced gap to the other engines), and even if it does get it right for 2020, the new engine rules come for the start of 2021 so Red Bull really won’t be able to take advantage of it. Moreover, with Red Bull as its partner, I don’t think Honda will be able to shift its development of the current hybrid PUs into the new engines due to come in at 2021 as Red Bull will likely demand instant results, meaning that Honda could be behind Mercedes and Ferrari for the development of the new engine regulations as they have to focus so much more on these current engines as they are so behind the competition. Thus, I expect Red Bull to use Honda for 2019, 2020 and maybe 2021, and then eventually move to a new alliance with the likes of Porsche. McLaren seems to be a winner in all this; not only will they likely get an engine reportedly worth 5hp more than a customer Mercedes (with the scope for further improvement), but they have now forced Red Bull to turn to Honda engines, which could pay off for Red Bull, but could equally be disastrous for the Red Bull family (not financially though it seems).

    1. And if you’re wondering how I got the figure for the Renault engine to be 5hp more than a customer Mercedes, it’s from this article , which might not be 100% trustworthy, but is from a reliable source I believe. This states that the Renault engine is currently running 20bhp down on what it’s capable of due to reliability concerns, but this should be rectified for 2018. Moreover, the customer Mercedes teams appear to have a deficit of up to 20bhp on the works team during qualifying, meaning that a up-to-date Renault engine spec with all the works team’s mapping etc. should be approximately worth 5hp more than a customer Mercedes in 2018

      1. I hope you are not comparing a 2017 mercedes customer engine to a hypothetical 2018 renault engine. Mercedes will improve for 2018 as well.

        1. +1 @socksolid

          That reasoning seems a bit of stretch and 20bhp between factory and works is a huge margin. I cannot see customer teams taking that lying down

          1. Not sure they can do anything about it. It might be that 20 Bph comes from mapping and fuels which I don’t think all Merc customers use. I could be wrong on this though. The power units supplied are probably all the same. How much performance you get out of depends on the other bits.

        2. @offdutyrockstar It’s not a general 20bhp difference, it is just for qualifying, and we know for certain that the works Mercedes team does a pretty significant boost to its engines. Here is the exact quote from the article:

          McLaren estimates that a fully operational Renault engine, with BP fuel and works mapping, would produce 5bhp more than a current customer Mercedes engine, which it reckons is 15kw (20bhp) down on the works engines owing to software mapping it believes Mercedes only makes available for Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying.

          1. Colour me sceptical nonetheless, I’d be more inclined to believe it from a Mercedes customer than a team which hasn’t made an accurate comparative performance estimation since 2015…

        3. @socksolid It’s not a hypothetical 2018 Renault engine, it is rather the 2017 engine, but due to reliability concerns, it is running 20hp down on its potential. McLaren has the same fuel supplier (BP) as the works Renault team, and that will likely help a tiny bit. So the 2017 Renault engine at full potential would produce basically the same power as a customer Mercedes. Here is the exact quote from the article.

          McLaren believes Renault’s new 2017 engine concept is capable of producing 570kW (764bhp) of power, but current reliability concerns make 20bhp of that potential inaccessible. Work is ongoing at Viry to correct this for 2018. McLaren estimates that a fully operational Renault engine, with BP fuel and works mapping, would produce 5bhp more than a current customer Mercedes engine.

          1. A 2017 engine that will not run to that spec until next year is a hypothetical 2018 engine mate.

          2. @offdutyrockstar Yes, but my point is that that won’t be Renault’s only improvement for 2018. They will improve in other areas as well.

  10. So……No VAG-involving Red bull TAG?

    1. Nobody new is going to step in until 2010 @davidnotcoulthard. So a gap of 2 years they will probably have to sing out with Honda. I guess Honda will soon be starting to get Red Bull’s attention!

  11. Nicely timed by Renault, this announcement comes right on the heels of the TR Honda/McLaren Renault deal.

    1. Great way to turn the tables for RBR. I actually thought the biggest gainer in the whole deal was the Red Bull parent team. They had an option to switch between Honda and Renault in 2019 or 2020 if the Honda engines (by some freak miracle) became better than Renault. Now, it seems like they’re on a ticking time bomb situation if Honda doesn’t deliver.

      I can imagine people in the Renault factory with a big smile across their face once this announcement was made.

  12. Frankly I don’t think RBR have any choice but to pursue an alternative PU supplier as it’s been clear that their current one just isn’t up to scratch.

    2014 – the PU was awful but improved marginally as the season progressed
    2015 – complete disaster, the PU was worse and the manufacturer essentially did nothing to improve it (remember the tokens they didn’t bother to use?)
    2016 – reliability improved but the PU wasn’t in the same ballpark as Merc and Ferrari
    2017 – despite early promises, the manufacturer backed away from delivering more grunt in favour of reliability and has failed at that too for RBR, STR AND its own team.
    2018 – I really don’t hold out any hope for change and both drivers obviously feel the same

    So I don’t think they’ll be overly upset. THey know they need to do something.

    1. Yes right… all those RB that get a podium despite such an horrible engine that goes backward exploding at the first bump. What a true genius Neway is -_-

  13. So do Honda have an obligation to supply RBR in 2019 as part of the STR contact ? (we don’t know of course but would assume so).
    Could Red Bull find themselves with no-one providing them a PU yet they face a 1/2 Billion fine if they don’t race?

    This really isn’t how Formula One should be able to operate where a top team is basically pushed out due to the engine manufactures being scared or unwilling to work with them- will see how Liberty deal with this as is 4 car leave the grid in 2021 it isn’t much of a championship.

    No doubt Dan & Max are talking to the top two right now!!

    1. It won’t be half a billion. If they had to, they’d race but the stuff they publicly said about Renault would be nothing compared to what they’d say about the sport.

      It would also guarantee that F1 would forever lose a major sponsor.

  14. If it does transpire that Red Bull go for Honda in 2019 and then Red Bull have success, Alonso will surely become the most unique and talented test and development driver in motorsport history. Having already done what appears to be a more than reasonable job at Ferrari.
    At this rate his post F1 career will be heading for Formula E where he will be eventually be forced into retirement just at the point before Formula E becomes more popular than Formula 1!

    1. That’s exactly what I thought. I think with the amount of resources Honda have thrown at F1 since 2015, I am certain their engine will come good at some point. That could easily be next season. And it will basically mean that Alonso would have made the same mistake as he did with Ferrari. He will really be kicking himself though..

      1. The money Honda trow in 2015 & 2016 was completely useless. They started a new concept almost from the scratch. If throwing money was the answer, Toyota would have a lot of championships.

    2. @mccosmic Hilarious, thanks for one of the funniest posts I’ve read in a while!

    3. Yep. Honda had been holding back its spec 4 engine for a while but it’s time to introduce newer engine at the expense of 40 grid penalty for Alonso every race and bring reliable with decent power spec 11 to Toro Rosso.

  15. Cue Helmut Marko’s obligatory quit threat quote.

  16. Red Bull is planning on moving on after the current Concorde agreement expires. This is just a part of that process.

  17. Really shows how much F1 is at the mercy of the manufacturers. Renault, who were being seen as “gracious” and “sporting” for supplying to two very big customers are now cutting off the life support of their customer a year early. I don’t see any motivation for this move apart from vendetta for 2015.

    The simpler engines of 2021 and independent outside. suppliers can’t come soon enough

    1. They are talking about not renewing the current contract at expiry, and they are sharing this very early on… What is not “gracious” or “sporting” about this? Also TR terminating their contract with Renault early to give RB a fair chance to “pick and choose” their engine in 2019 (despite their history with Renault) is “gracious” and “sporting”? What the hell…

    2. Sumedh, Renault took a lot of crap from Red Bull ( far more than Honda have taken from McLaren), and have had their engines re-branded, yet Red Bull still criticise Renault.
      In my opinion Red Bull are getting what they deserve!

    3. Lewisham Milton
      15th September 2017, 0:53

      Remember it’s not Renault, it’s TAG Heuer. I will never buy another watch from them.

  18. Honda will buy Red Bull at some point? And RB will continue as a sponsor? At the ene of 2019 all RB drivers in F1 will be free and they don’t have anyone coming up from the program really strong…

    1. I think McLaren have gone through all these accessments before deciding to end their Honda nightmare. If McLaren thought Honda could come good next year, and Honda could demonstrate that they could, I think they would have stayed put.
      All this is mute, as Honda have not demonstrated they can produce a reliable power unit that finishes races, never mind been match for Renault. Mercedes or Ferrari are on another planet right now.

  19. Well there there is the rumour that Porsche may be interested in RB.

  20. You can bet Red Bull are going to pump everything they can spare into Torro Rosso and be making plenty of trips to Honda’s F1 operation down the road in Milton Keynes off the back of this.

    2019 could be a very interesting season.

    1. Building 9 (Virtual Test track harnessing a real PU and chassis) is going to become very active at the RBR HQ… This is exactly what I said a couple of days ago.

      STR will be the development team for the PU next season, with lots of virtual testing will be taking place. Iillien has worked with RBR in the past (at least hired by RBR in order to try and sort the Renault PU). Next season you can guarantee that RBR will be working very closely with Honda in order to make sure everything is pushed to produce both a powerful and reliable PU for 2019.

      I am pretty certain the Honda PU that starts the 2018 season will be a much more reliable beast than the POS in the McLaren currently..

  21. You cannot be a sore loser playing the blame game when you depend on others for your success. This was a long time coming. Enjoy the back of the grid with your Indy Lights drivers next year.

  22. I love how people think “it’ll be great” if Porsche buys Red Bull. Yeah, great. Like as great as when Porsche decided to return to LMP1/WEC in 2014. Now they’re gone and LMP1 is imploding before our eyes.
    It is a strategic error to build a race series that is dependent on automobile OEMs.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Manufacturers are a double edged sword, you need them but as soon as their accountants say it’s too expensive they are off, regardless of the damage it does to the sport.

      1. It’s not the accountants; they’re just running the numbers. The board and senior management are supportive of motorsport activity as long as they think it is in the best interests of the business and shareholders. Of course, it’s debatable whether that is ever the case but as long as they believe it is creating value they will participate, and when they don’t they won’t.
        It is insanely stupid for a race series to make itself dependent on automobile OEMs, which is exactly what F1 and Liberty Media are doing.
        I know this industry (automobiles) inside-out (I won’t say why), and as we transition to autonomous fleets and BEVs then a F1 dependant on OEMs is royally screwed.

    2. F1 is somewhat more fortunate in that Ferrari aren’t likely to go anywhere with their historic payments.

      Mercedes are highly unlikely to as they are sitting pretty with consecutive championships, possibly the strongest road car technology tie in and one of the most marketable sportsmen in the world synonymous with them. Renault have just committed a ton more resources to a works team that wouldn’t function without their own engine.

      Honda is a question mark but look at the concessions that have been made on their behalf, abolishment of the token system and both the FIA and Liberty stepping in to broker the deal with Torro Rosso.

      I agree that 2 more independent engine manufacturers would probably be preferable to 1 more car company but its not the worst thing in the world either.

      1. Here is a prediction, write it down: None of Mercedes, Renault, Porsche, Honda, Toyota, Ford, BMW will be competing in F1 by 2025.
        Will there even be an F1 in 2026? I don’t know, but it won’t be anything like what you are going to watch this weekend.

        1. I disagree because I think you are not taking into account the changes to F1 that Liberty/Brawn will have enacted in the coming years. I think there is no predicting what manufacturers may think of F1, but I do believe that they will be looking at a much more enthralling and tempting series over the next 2 to 4 years. Closer racing, less influence from self-interested and engrained ‘have’ teams, more chance for the lesser teams, ie. better balance amongst the teams, removal of DRS etc etc. I believe that nothing is static and even if some manufacturers do leave, others will see that as an opening and an opportunity to enter.

          Let’s give Liberty/Brawn their chance to put their twist on the plot.

          1. It has nothing to do with Liberty, Brawn, Chase Carey’s mustache, or anything else, it has to do with the direction of the automobile industry.

          2. Well I think that if you know the auto industry inside and out, I’m sure there are many within F1 that equally have the lay of the land too. F1 insiders such as Brawn will be talking to the likes of the manufacturers you cite, and I don’t see how you can isolate one side of the equation without taking into account the work that Liberty will do to ensure their longevity. To say at this point in time that there may not even be an F1 in 2026 is I think far fetched unless you’ve got all the details of how Liberty will mould things going forward, them likely knowing everything and more than you about the auto industry. If there’s things you know that they don’t, I suggest you go get yourself hired as a consultant in F1.

        2. Here is a prediction, write it down: None of Mercedes, Renault, Porsche, Honda, Toyota, Ford, BMW will be competing in F1 by 2025.


        3. I don’t think that prediction is so far fetched. I could see F1 becoming more of a spec series with only one or two engine manufacturers. If the non-Ferrari manufactures pulling out, what option would remain?

          1. It would be far better for F1 to be put on hiatus than to become a spec series. Right?

    3. Simplified power units, cost controls, and there would be lots of independent power unit builders out there who could make power units for a fraction of the cost of the present units.

  23. The sport is getting a bit out of control – as it stands we don’t have good seats for the young talents. Now we might lose 2 top performing cars in one of the best new teams. I think the engine constructors need to think of the sport a little more than their own teams.

  24. I hope the Singapore grand prix is as exciting on the track, as it is off it.

  25. This has to be the beginning of the end for Red Bull in F1. A few sources have suggested recently that Red Bull will be on a “fade out path” with both STR and RBR over the next few years in the same manner as they did with Sauber between 2001 – 2004….but a few seasons of dismal performance with Honda could force Herr Mateschitz to pull the plug earlier.

  26. Wow. What a bombshell. Unless Honda get their act together as others have suggested thefuture’s bleak for Red Bull and their two star drivers. The biggest winner out of all of this may turn out to be Carlos Sainz. How about that

  27. I suspect this is the last gambit of Red Bull until they withdraw in 2020. They’ve felt like since 2014 they’ve had a championship capable chassis held back by the Renault power unit. They have pretty much nothing to lose now if they’ve lost confidence in Renault getting within sniffing distance of Ferrari and Mercedes.

    They take the Honda deal for Torro Rosso for next year, figure the lay of the land and hopefully make some progress with the power unit ready to put it in the back of the Red Bull for 2019. If Honda come good then Red Bull have finally landed themselves manufacturer status. But if Honda still are hopelessly behind the rest then Red Bull is only contracted until 2020 anyway, they cut their losses because if they aren’t winning or at least fighting with a real hope of winning then as a marketing platform it’s not really giving them what they want.

    I think F1 is just a few years away from losing two teams and a power unit manufacturer unless Honda pulls a miracle out of the bag like stealing Andy Cowell from Mercedes.

  28. They had better be damn sure that they pull their finger out and ensure that their chassis is a good as they claim it to be. I truly hope that they can start fighting for meaningful positions again. – macca fan

  29. So Verstappen/Ricciardo will go to Ferrari/Mercedes in 2019 and the possible line ups will be
    Seb/Max vs Lewis/Dan or Seb/Dan vs Lewis/Max => for sure it will be fireworks everywhere and RBR will get Honda engines. I can’t imagine the facepalm of Horner/Marko/Mateschitz :)
    What goes around comes around…

    1. @tifoso1989, ahah, that would be fun for everyone, including spectators, except red bull team bosses!

  30. I’m a glass half full kind of guy so I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that we’ll see Red Bull powered by Mercedes in 2019/20 with Verstappen heading to Mercedes in 2020. Mouthwatering.

    1. Mouthwatering indeed!

    2. As long as Mercedes have their own team they would not supply RBR. It’s like shooting on their own foot.

      1. How conventional wisdom…

  31. Well let’s wait and see if the McLaren disaster was solely Honda’s fault.
    I believe Honda will be at Renault levels but mid 2018 season.
    But still its exciting to see things mixed up after a long time

  32. I have not seen a reason given for the ending of Renault engines to Red Bull……it couldn’t be that mclaren want to be the only customer of Renault ??? Therefore their engines to be identical to the works team……

    1. There is a reason if no-one want to supply Redbull, is they keep getting credit to themselves when they win and keep blaming their engine when they fail. It has been the case since they are in formula 1, I bet Renault’s guys are more than happy to give them up to Honda. I reckon they needed to have a very good chassis to compare their work team with, in order to assess how much improvement needs to be done there. Now they have McLaren, rRed-Bull bring little benefit and is a huge PR liability.

  33. So if Honda does not get their act together in 2018 it will be probably R BRexit in 2019

    1. @jamesbond

      R BRexit

      I chuckled.

  34. This should not be a shock in the slightest.

    First, there are the issues of a strained RB-Renault relationship. Red Bull remained with Renault because it was literally the only option – no one else wanted to supply a team that could beat them. Then, Red Bull masks the engine with TAG Heuer badging.

    Secondly (and most importantly, I feel), the reality is that works teams win championships. Like it or not, the only way a team wins a championship in the current state of F1 is with a works engine deal: Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, McLaren-Honda. And as it happens, Ferrari and Mercedes are battling for a championship. No one else with Mercedes or Ferrari engines are even close: the team-engine marriage is crucial. And apart from Brawn’s 2009 championship (when the team was halfway between factory Honda and factory Mercedes), you have to go back to the 1990s to find non-works winners.

    Which brings us back to Red Bull and Honda. Red Bull simply isn’t going to challenge for a title without a works deal. But by getting in with Honda, there’s a chance. Granted, Honda needs to make some serious strides (and with Red Bull/STR, we might see them bring in someone like Mario Illien, just as RB did with Renault), but it’s really the only chance Red Bull has at challenging anymore.

    They need a works deal, and until the new rules come into play in 2021, this is their last best chance.

  35. Frankly, it really amazes me how people are “surprised” by this rumor. Some are trying to give an explanation, others are predicting the end of RBR etc. That’s OK but you don’t have to be a psychic to foresee some things. Lol, aren’t you people watching MotoGP? If not then next time, just out of curiosity, look out for the biggest ad on the Honda motorcycle. And what is more surprising is that no one else seem to have noticed this and comment accordingly on this article. STR is just the “Trojan Horse” for 2018.

  36. I rather think that RedBull deserve this. They were very quick to turn on Renault in 2014, 2015 after having had them power them to 4 straight titles.

  37. I don’t think the powers that be will want an even less competitive championship from 2019 than it is already. I mean one where there is an even larger performance gap between Merc/Ferrari and the rest.

    I suspect that if Renault do refuse to supply RBR from 2019 they will be asked to supply a less significant team instead and either Ferrari or Mercedes will be asked to supply RBR. This is assuming of course that the Honda engine has not improved to a level where is it a genuine rival for the Renault engine by 2019 or where it even surpasses its performance.

    1. Will Red Bull be able to provide Honda with info on the Renault engines or is that already an open book in the fact that Honda knows what everyone else has.

  38. Michael Brown (@)
    14th September 2017, 23:42

    Imagine Honda being worse than Renault, and Red Bull begging Renault to come back.

  39. People seem to forget that in the beginning, McLaren were very patient with Honda. It was only towards the latter part of 2015, when McLaren and Alonso (especially) went on the offensive. Probably after they realized some point mid-season that their Japanese partners did not share the same sense of urgency they had about needing to find more effective/bigger solutions to reduce the power deficit (e.g. rejecting flat out Ron Dennis’ offer to bring in engineers from other manufacturer’s PU department).

    3-years on (and still significantly behind the other engine manufacturers) Honda still do not understand the gravity of the situation they are in, and continuously refuse to adapt to 21st century F1 culture (e.g. they’re content w/ making gains of 0.100 secs, when Mercedes/Ferrari/Renault – who are already way ahead of them – introduce developments worth more than that!). To sum it up, not only do Honda PUs have problems generating power, they struggle with reliability as well! Every race, an “upgrade” only leads to another problem.

    Compare Honda’s 3-years of near zero progress to Renault, who have been behind Mercedes/Ferrari since the start of the V6 era, but never really crippled Red Bull (at least no where near as bad as Honda has crippled McLaren).

    Since the introduction of the V6 Turbos, Red Bull has still managed to win races and be best of the rest (especially in 2014, when they finished 2nd in the WCC despite the lack of running during winter). So despite still being competitive, and just not consistent front runners, Red Bull never stopped disparaging Renault; acting as if they suffered the biggest fall from grace since the new regs.

    True the V6 Renaults were never the best, but in all likelihood the same can probably be said about RBR’s chassis from 2014-2016 (and this year as well).

    So now, Renault has found a convenient excuse to separate from the team. Red Bull can go with Honda, who may eventually come good (doubt it). Or they can hope for a new manufacturer to come in, like Porsche. But if they find themselves in the doldrums in 2019 due to being partnered with an even more dysfunctional engine supplier, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.

  40. This was to be expected.

    Honda needs a serius partner. McLaren is many things but it ain’t no RedBullRacing.

    When it comes to making good chassis Red Bull has proven in last 3 chassis regulation sets they can get near or to the top. McLaren have not.

    Renault engines are not exactly stellar. Chances are they won’t be in the foreseeable future. If Honda needs a proper partner Red Bull is it, they have far more championship potential than McLaren.

    There are also other ramifications, Red Bull know fully well Renault wont deliver and Honda might not deliver, so their third option is Porsche. Come 2021. I hazard a bet by 2021 Red Bull will either get to winning ways or quit the sport if none of the engine options work out.

    By 2025 maybe there won’t be RedBull in formula 1 at all but instead Porsche and Honda.

    What will happen in 2018? Honda will sort reliability issues and overtake Renault… come 2019 RBR will have Honda engines.

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