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Featured Has Red Bull found a way out of engine debacle?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    christianhorner.jpg As fresh reports of a unique engine partnership with Renault surface, are Red Bull heading towards becoming their own supplier?

    After months of public declarations, media speculation, and internal conversation, it seems the engine merry-go-round has finally stopped for Red Bull, and as fortune would have it, they’re right back where they started.

    Despite attempts to switch to every other supplier on the grid (and some off of it) over the past several months, the latest reports have the four-time world champions back with Renault for 2016 in a marriage which is sure to rival any of Tom Cruise’s for awkwardness.

    However, Red Bull’s return to the Renault fold is reportedly not without some new wrinkles, as the Milton Keynes outfit seems set to lean more heavily on the expertise of former Ilmor Engineering boss Mario Illien to add their own improvements to Renault’s supply – essentially becoming their own supplier. And while Illien himself remains coy on any sort of concrete partnership with the team, they would be mad not to jump at the chance.

    Two years since Red Bull last reigned supreme in the constructor’s championship, it’s become readily apparent that the Renault partnership of old no longer possesses the magic it once did. Their V6-hybrid has never been able to catch up from the massive disadvantages it suffered at the start of the 2014 season, and there is no guarantee it ever will. Renault itself is on the verge of making the Enstone-based Lotus a factory team once more, meaning that even if the French supplier righted the ship, Red Bull couldn’t be certain they’d have works parity – which is the exact same concern they’ve had negotiating with every other supplier in the sport. Barring renewed interest from a company currently not in F1, such a deal is the best way to ensure the team remains competitive in the long term.

    Of course, such a move is a massive investment financially, and given the team has voiced on more than one occasion its willingness to leave the sport altogether, it may seem a bit far-fetched. Still, the truth is Red Bull has benefited massively from its association with F1 – there really is no other sport that reflects both its “extreme” image while simultaneously appealing to a mainstream audience, so why shouldn’t Red Bull double-down on its commitment? Particularly if they do bring Illien on-board, they’d be reigniting his highly successful partnership with Adrian Newey that won the 1998 constructor’s title for McLaren.

    From a fan’s point-of-view, it would certainly be the best possible outcome, for the same reason why Honda’s return – as disastrous as it has been so far – is absolutely fantastic for F1. As much as we need the Williamses and Lotuses of the grid, it’s those teams who are willing to fail in their quest for a constructor’s title that contribute most to the future of the sport, because it gives us either more race-winning cars, or more opportunities for amusing, Alonso-esque complaints from their drivers.

    Unfortunately, such a move would not exactly guarantee Red Bull to a long-term commitment, but it would alleviate any concerns in the short term.The engine supplier game is an extremely lengthy process, and it's yet to be seen whether Red Bull can develop the patience to sustain even a two-year winless streak, as Newey and Illien did from 1995-96. It would require a massive turnaround in mindset from a team that has shown in the last two years it will accept nothing less than first place - in that case, this will only lead to a very quick exit from the sport at the end of their contract with FOM.

    The hope is Red Bull are moving towards a more long-term, pragmatic view of what it takes to excel, and developing their own engine is the best way to do that. As much as F1 needs more competition now, if Red Bull manage to give themselves wings and truly take flight, everyone will benefit from it even more in the future.

    Is becoming their own supplier the best way forward for Red Bull? Or are they too impatient to make it work? Sound off in the comments below.
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  2. BoogerMac


    I think becoming their own supplier would be very advantageous; however, from recent history, they may be to impatient for it to work. Everything Red Bull Racing (not just F1) is involved with, they have the "Win Now" attitude and its hard for them to accept anything less.
  3. Tim.E


    No, they kind of have to as all the other engine suppliers rejected their offer, they could've maybe taken Honda though I don't think that'd be the best solution as Honda has first priority for Mclaren. I just hope everything goes well for them!
  4. Milos

    Had things gone my way, who knows..

    no you don't, I'd bet you are fine as it is with Hamilton winning :p
    oh and btw Honda also declined the deal

    that sounds like a plan from Red Bull, I like it.
  5. ThatRacingGuy

    I drove 88 MPH last night... weird stuff happened Premium

    What about Torro Rosso?
  6. Lazarou


    2015 Ferrari engines next year.
  7. Frederic Schornstein

    Frederic Schornstein
    TXL Racing Premium

    I am not a big Red Bull fan, but they joined in 2005 and it took them 5 years to win the WC. BMW for example bought Sauber in 2006 ans pulled out after 2009. Toyota joined in 2002 and left after 2009, so I wouldnt call out RedBull on that. They are financing 25% of the competetive cars.

    I think this engine development really hurts the sport. In the past it was never a big deal to get another engine e.g. Brawn in 2009. Even Ferrari supplied Torro Rosso, but now the engine constructors can choose for their advantage.

    The FIA should simply put a rule in place that you have to sell your engine to every non-manufacturer. Give them two or three options: last years engine, current engine, current engine always on the latest spec.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    Maybe I am a bit to old fashioned, but I have never seen the problem with it. It was always like that, it's just 2006-2013 era that was strange when it comes to this stuff.
    The biggest problem atm is that it is too expensive for independent engine manufacturers to make an engine, if it had been both simpler and cheaper to make a PU, we would've had independent engine manufacturers in the sport, and it would be possible to get an engine no matter what.

    But the idea that engine dev. hurts the sport is weird. There has always been engine dev. in the sport, and it's also better with many companies in the sport.
    If the rule is "You have to sell". We would have Ferrari-Ferrari, McLaren-Honda and The Rest - Mercedes. That would also be boring. A bit like 1974. 62 drivers drove in some shape or form that year, for a total of 20 different teams. 18 teams and 56 drivers had Cosworth engines. 2 drivers and 1 team with Ferrari, and 1 team used 4 different drivers with BRM engines.
    It wasn't until 1981 we got more than 3 engine manufacturers in to the sport at the same time.

    I am aware that we won't get another 1986, which I really liked, 14 teams and 11 different engines form 10 different makers.

    Darn, trailing off.

    My point is, that engine dev. have always been a part of the sport, and should be. FIA should however try their hardest to make a set of rules, that would make it possible for Ilmor, Cosworth, Judd and AER (who made a test engine in 2012 for the 'future F1 rules') to make PU's, and it would make it possible for independents to also take over engines when car manufacturers pull out.
    Even better if they (FIA) had managed to make the WEC and F1 engine rules the same.
    Then go on and make WRC and WTCC engine rules the same as well.
    Would've made it easier for independents and manufacturers...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Frederic Schornstein

    Frederic Schornstein
    TXL Racing Premium

    I think the issue is the token system. Engine dev is ok, but with the token system it is very hard to catch up. So basically get it right in the first place or suffer. Merc has for example spent all their tokens, so their engine is basically frozen, so we will end up with frozen F1 engines like before, but now with very diffrent performance levels.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    Ah! Then we actually agree. However, they will get tokens for a couple of more years.
  11. Frederic Schornstein

    Frederic Schornstein
    TXL Racing Premium

    Ah thanks then I was not correctly informed. I thought once these tokens are used it is over.
  12. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium

    I would not bank of the FIA doing anything right. In fact, I have not seen anything they have done right after becoming far more meddlesome once F1 dominated open-wheel in popularity after the beak-up of CART. If there was a way to graph it, as the FIA bureaucracy goes up, the sport's popularity goes down.

    I don't think team dominance hurts the sport (just going by previous #1 runs, which have been far more "dominating" than Mercedes). I don't really even think being expensive hurts the sport (Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren to some extent, Red Bull, Haas, Renault and Honda don't need F1).

    What *does* hurt the sport is trying to have it both ways. The FIA is, in a way, supposed to be diametrically opposed to what the engine manufacturers want, but they are not. Simple aero changes make teams "roll-with-the-punches" so to speak, as when the FIA takes one of it's many stabs in the dark at limiting speed via aero and not engine. But engine meddling is far more expensive and has been much more common these days. So, if you want lower speed and more of a "spec" type series (and an expensive one at that), this is exactly where F1 is headed. And yes "spec" can be expensive.

    But if you want the F1 of not to long ago. The F1 where someone like Ross Brawn could still come in and, with a mishmash of ex-Honda executives, buy a folding team and win the WDC and WCC, then read on. This was because of the first two points, below. How do you get manufactures back and gain F1 some much needed credibility? I'd say:

    1. Allow engine manufacturers to compete within a spec that is high-end/low-reg. but not so ridiculously over-regulated and expensive that lower tier manufacturers, like Cosworth, BMW, Peteronas, and even Toyota (very picky about cost-benefit) to not be shoved out by price and irrelevancy. The new spec is great if you are a huge engine maker that runs in F1 and can price anyone out of the market. People mistake "expensive" for "innovation" all the time, but sometimes they are diametrically opposed. It is no secret that, with the FIA's blessing, the current spec engines were shoved down the throats of the little guys, like Cosworth, from the lobbying of the big guys (Mercedes in particular), who are happy now...and Honda even decided to come back! Change of spec alone ruins permanency, and stifles competition. Going too far brings worse results. The dirty little secret is that very large corporations *like* over-regulation because it hammers the less-capitalized out of the market. There is no difference in big government and big corporation, in any environment.

    2. Allow the manufacturers to test. Manufacturers don't mind spending money (that's what they do to sell) if they can develop, which the FIA has effectively shut down. Steve Matchett hammers this point every race. How the FIA can justify development as a case for wholesale engine spec change ("The FIA announced the intention to change the 2.4-litre V8 engines to 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines with ERS....in order to make Formula One more environmentally aware and to attract more commercial partners for 2014"), and then shut the main "engine" of development down (testing) is beyond me. For the amount of money it cost manufacturers to change spec, you could run about 2000 hours of testing. lol. All the big boys do is buy wind tunnel and dyno time, and "test" inside their private facilities.

    3. Divorce the FIA and the works teams from stealing the engine innovation that made F1 great. This is going to be the tough part, because the big boys want their power (Red Bull will never win a fight with Ferrari, but, in the end, should not have to). Remember, the FIA only collects fees, it never takes any risk or contributes any technological brilliance to F1. Be careful who you ask to "right" the ship, is my only point.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    The Brawn GP was one of the most expensive F1 cars ever. Honda basically scrapped 2008 as a competition year for one reason, use all possible resources on the 2009-car (even the key Super Aguri personel was thrown in when they stopped) and the new regulations. For them to pull out due to the economic-crisis, and selling the team for 1GBP to Ross Brawn.
    That could be done today as well if Merc were to pull out, and then someone taking over the car.

    Aaand, I know it is nitpicking, but I like it when people do it to me (I learn from it), Petronas was "just" a sponsor. Even though they owned 40% of Sauber Petronas Engineering, who only dealt with the engines, which was basically Ferrari engines rebadged for the main sponsor. It was even lots of Ferrari staff in the company :)
  14. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium

    No no, that's a great retort, and I did learn from it. :). What can I say about the second one...I'll have to give you that, but Cos-freakin-worth? lol.

    Regarding the first, I'm not so sure it could happen today. Ross made a mint on that "one year" deal, and if any corporation knew what he knew (about the car and the ability to dominate, not just be competitive), the bid to Honda may have been huge. Surely, something that someone like Ross Brawn could not afford if Mercedes sold today.

    But in the end, it's all opinion and speculation. I think we basically agree that the sport is in bad need of change now and was better before (when, we may disagree, but before for sure). How to get back there, if we can, is the question. Red Bull, IMO, helped us talk about this. If it had been Ferrari, we would have changed by now. :roflmao:

    P.S. - And to think all they had to do with the V6's of 2014 is to allow them to reach maximum revs by not limiting the fuel. That draconian fuel limitation, which can be tied directly to political correctness, was such idiocy in a racing series.