Red Bull push hard for switch from Re­nault to Mercedes en­gines

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

As Red Bull’s poor form con­tin­ues, it is re­ported that the team have given no­tice to their en­gine part­ner Re­nault

Red Bull are aim­ing to get out of their Re­nault en­gine con­tract as soon as they can and switch to Mercedes – pos­si­bly as early as the start of the 2016 sea­son.

Team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner re­fused to com­ment on re­ports that Red Bull have is­sued Re­nault with a let­ter giv­ing no­tice of ter­mi­na­tion of their con­tract, on the ba­sis that Re­nault have failed to meet a per­for­mance clause.

Horner said this was “spec­u­la­tion”, and said: “We’ve got a con­tract with Re­nault and I am not go­ing to dis­close its con­tents. There are obli­ga­tions on both par­ties.”

Even so, Red Bull are be­lieved to be keen to se­cure pace-set­ting Mercedes power units for 2016, although Mercedes have made it clear they won’t en­ter talks with Red Bull while the team are con­tracted to Re­nault. Re­nault’s deal with Red Bull runs un­til the end of 2016.

Mercedes and Re­nault work to­gether in the road-car mar­ket­place. Each has a ve per cent share­hold­ing in the other, and they have col­lab­o­rated on the new Re­nault Twingo and jointly work on ten projects.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said: “We will not in­ter­fere in an ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ship be­cause legally we don’t do this and it is not the way we ap­proach busi­ness. Re­nault and Daim­ler go back a long way with many co-oper­a­tions. It is an in­dus­trial part­ner­ship and un­til it is re­solved be­tween the two par­ties we will not start dis­cus­sions. It has not reached that point and the com­plex­ity is large.”

Re­nault are eval­u­at­ing whether to con­tinue as an en­gine sup­plier, with­draw from F1 or in­crease their in­volve­ment. They have con­sid­ered be­com­ing team own­ers and have held talks about buy­ing Lo­tus. But at the time of writ­ing, no con­clu­sion had been reached due to con­cern over Lo­tus’s pre­car­i­ous nances.

At the Bel­gian Grand Prix, Force In­dia owner Vi­jay Mallya re­vealed he had also held talks with Re­nault about a po­ten­tial sale of a ma­jor­ity stake in his team.

Red Bull’s op­tions are lim­ited if they can­not se­cure Mercedes en­gines. Honda are un­com­pet­i­tive, and McLaren would likely use their con­trac­tual veto over Honda sign­ing to another team. So Fer­rari are cur­rently the only re­al­is­tic al­ter­na­tive.

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