October 16, 2015

Renault to Red Bull: Apologize or go pound sand.

Red Bull will have to write a public letter of apology if it wants engines for 2016.  

That is the request made by Renault's chief Carlos Ghosn as the condition to continue supplying the Austro-British team with engines next season according to European media sources.

Renault have Red Bull by the short and curlies: they can grovel or go pound sand.

How did almighty Red Bull get itself in such a hole,  mid October and still no power unit lined up just four month out from the first tests on 2016?

It's a case study in management failure, shocking from an outfit as precisely run as Red Bull, winner of four consecutive championships.

The relationship between the energy drink company and Renault had been souring since last season.   Renault made wrong choices with the new engine regulations and combined with the tough packaging demands made by Adrian Newey for the the RB-10 meant  Red Bull were finally beaten.

I happens,  cycles end, teams react.  Red Bull chose to react by slamming Renault in public.   It's a technique that, as Italy's premier racing magazine Autosprint points out, had worked against Pirelli in 2013 when Red Bull hectored the Italian company into going back to a tire construction that favored their cars.

Renault, who had tried hard to make up for its miscalculation in 2014, was not willing to go along in 2015.   By mid-season it was all out war.

Red Bull started to work on a deal for Mercedes engines in the summer.  It got assurances but no contracts.

At this point the stunner,  without a firm commitment from Mercedes, Mateschitz Marko and Horner went about announcing they would be breaking their Renault contract in 2016.

Unfortunately, the deal with the Germans fizzled:  Toto Wolff, Nicky Lauda and Lewis Hamilton all were against it and Red Bull was iced.

That left Ferrari as the only alternative.    Unfortunately Red Bull had been deriding the Italians since Sergio Marchionne offered to give them engines in Canada.   Red Bull was demanding the same exact engine Maranello would run.  If they didn't get them, Adrian Newey commented, it's because Ferrari are scared of them.

With negotiating skills like that they should all be working for Donald Trump.

This past week Ferrari said it does not have the capacity to produce a new line of 2016 spec engines,  doing so would disrupt their planning and supply chain and interfere with the development.   The did offer 2015 spec units which now, thanks to the latest rules tweak, will be legal to run in 2016.

Good enough for Toro Rosso but beneath Red Bull.   They had to have a guarantee to be in the condition to win or they would quit the sport... which is yet another insult to other teams.

So that leads them back to La Regie.   Ecclestone mediated and was likely instrumental in convincing everyone to allow for engine development to continue in 2016, giving Renault and Honda a better chance to catch up.
For Renault it will be a chance to get some payback and funds for their "Lotus" project (though not as much if Infiniti remains as a title sponsor at RBR).

For Red Bull it will be maximum humiliation, having to go groveling back to Renault after all the piling on they did over the past two seasons.

Tough pill to swallow  but the general feeling is Horner and company only have themselves to blame.

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