Oct.25 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Suddenly, where once it was all change in the rapidly-divorcing worlds of Red Bull and Renault, everything could stay the same.
With Mercedes, Ferrari and even now Honda ruling out leaping to the powerless Red Bull’s rescue, it appears now that patching up the broken bridges with its French partner is the only solution.
Niki Lauda agrees: “They have to reconcile with Renault.
“We know the situation with Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda isn’t good, so where does that leave them? They have to accept Renault if they want to be on the grid,” said the F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman.
‘Want’, of course, is the operative word.
“I have the feeling that he doesn’t know at the moment if he is staying or going,” F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, referring to Red Bull and Toro Rosso team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, admitted to Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
Ecclestone had earlier warned that a premature exit would spell legal trouble and multi-million dollar penalties for Red Bull, but he now says F1’s door could be left open.
“If they want to go for one or more years, they can do that,” he is quoted by Sport Bild. “We would then be happy to see them in F1 again.”
A one-year sabbatical for Red Bull would mean the team could prepare for the new, probably Cosworth-supplied 2.2 litre twin-turbo engine for 2017, set to complement all-new technical regulations on the chassis side as well.
And many believe that, even amid diesel-gate, Red Bull is keeping the Volkswagen option open too.
“My opinion is that they (Red Bull) will be in trouble (for 2016) whatever engine they get because of the timing,” Ecclestone told F1’s official website.
Others believe that Ecclestone’s 2.2 litre plan is a direct attack on Mercedes, who as the runaway dominant ‘power unit’ maker is essentially holding the sport to ransom.
Indeed, Ecclestone and Red Bull’s Christian Horner on Saturday implied that Mercedes had reneged on an agreement to supply Red Bull from 2016.
But Mercedes’ Toto Wolff said Red Bull triggered its own mess.
“Currently there is no team without an engine,” he insisted at soaking Austin. “There is a team that voluntarily terminated its contract (with Renault).”
Lauda also denies he did an actual deal with Red Bull.
“It’s true I met with Mateschitz,” he said. “But there was no handshake and he never came back to us.”