RED BULL: NO 2016 MIR­A­CLES

Se­cond lean year pre­dicted as team looks to 2017 changes

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Rob Lad­brook Pho­tos: LAT

Chris­tian Horner has warned that his Red Bull team may en­dure an­other dif­fi­cult sea­son this year, but is con­fi­dent the team can be back at the front for 2017.

Red Bull will re­join the grid with a sup­ply of Re­nault en­gines badged by watch brand TAG Heuer this year, hav­ing rene­go­ti­ated the terms of its power unit sup­ply deal with the French man­u­fac­turer.

The Mil­ton Keynes team en­dured a tor­rid 2015 cam­paign, which was blighted by en­gine is­sues on-track and the es­ca­lat­ing feud with Re­nault off it.

Un­der the terms of the new deal, Red Bull will run up­graded 2016 spec Re­nault power units, but un­der the TAG badge, as a stop-gap to keep it on the grid. Red Bull’s part­ner­ship with the Il­mor En­gi­neer­ing firm opens the door for the team to pur­sue a dif­fer­ent de­vel­op­ment strat­egy to that of the re­turn­ing works Re­nault team.

Horner said he wasn’t ex­pect­ing a mirac­u­lous turn in form at the start of this year, and in­stead hinted that the team would work to­wards a more sus­tain­able en­gine op­tion from 2017.

“Some­times [a dif­fi­cult sea­son] brings a group closer to­gether and I feel this team is closer than it’s ever been be­fore,” he said. “Last year was a very dif­fer­ent chal­lenge for us, but we haven’t lost any ma­jor team mem­bers and we did a tremen­dous job of get­ting our heads down and fo­cus­ing on the chas­sis. We out-de­vel­oped oth­ers chas­sis-wise last year and had a tremen­dous car [in that re­spect]. I be­lieve we will have a very strong chas­sis [this year] and we can only worry about things we can con­trol.

“We’re just go­ing to have to tread wa­ter for a mo­ment un­til we get our­selves back onto the front foot and our time will come again.”

Horner also said he be­lieved a sea­son of sta­bil­ity for Red Bull would put it on a bet­ter foot­ing to se­cure a more com­pet­i­tive en­gine deal for 2017, when new chas­sis and en­gine reg­u­la­tions are due to be in­tro­duced.

When asked about the team’s fu­ture en­gine plans be­yond 2016, Horner said: “It’s dif­fi­cult to say at the mo­ment, but I be­lieve we should be in a bet­ter po­si­tion.

“I think 2017 rep­re­sents a whole new be­gin­ning. There’s a new set of chas­sis reg­u­la­tions, which is an­other op­por­tu­nity for the group to get hold of a clean sheet of pa­per. I think the fu­ture looks very bright for this team.”

Red Bull fin­ished fourth in 2015

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