Red Bull push hard for switch from Renault to Mercedes engines
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.