Red Bull’s chief technical officer, Adrian Newey, has reasoned that the team could be forced out of F1 by rival engine manufactures who are wary of supplying the team with an engine partnership. Red Bull have seemingly squandered the successful supplier relationship they had with Renault after becoming frustrated with an engine that has lacked competitiveness since the introduction of the new V6-hybrid Turbo era.
It was speculated VW may well enter the sport with an engine supply deal of some sorts. However the revelation that VW cheated emissions regulators and the billions of dollars worth of fines that will entail mean plan B has hit a dead end.
Red Bull made a conscious and some say a deliberate effort to publicly criticize Renault for not building a reliable and competitive engine. The tactic worked effectively and Renault fell for the humiliation bait ending the contract 1 year early, but it has also backfired spectacularly.
Initially Red Bull threatened to exit F1 because of a lack of in season engine development meant they were hampered in a bid to catch up Mercedes in the horsepower race. Finding another engine partner has proved to be difficult. Both Mercedes and Ferrari were asked, both refused.
Now Adrian Newey has said Red Bull may have played themselves into a check-mate position. “We’re possibly going to be forced out of Formula 1 – Mercedes and Ferrari have refused to supply us out of fear,” Said Newey.
Newey said if any of the rival manufactures did supply Red Bull with an engine then they would fear “we would beat them with their own engine”.
Despite wining four championships in a row with Renault as an engine partner between 2010 and 2013 it seems Red Bull put their pride before everything and have now suffered the inevitable fall.
Why the Red Bull management hounded Renault out of the engine supply contract 1 year early is one of the great mysteries, there are of course many speculated reasons.
There may well be a twist to the story, Renault will buy up the remains of Lotus F1 to become a full blooded works team. The twist? Red Bull may well have to back-track and go knocking on Renault’s door.