According to some reports, Red Bull and Renault are close to signing a new deal for the 2016 Formula 1 season, unless RBR boss Dietrich Mateschitz decides otherwise.
Racing with a 2016 Renault power unit would arguably be a best-case scenario for Red Bull, since neither a 2015 Ferrari engine nor a 2016 Honda unit (educated guess) would satisfy the team’s need to contend for podium finishes. Also, the Honda deal was apparently blocked by McLaren CEO Ron Dennis, while Mercedes aren’t willing to consider a partnership anymore.
Now, according to Eurosport, it seems that Red Bull has opened new conversations with Renault, which hadn’t voided their side of the long-standing contract, making this a very plausible scenario for both companies.
With a new deal in place, it is believed that both Renault-affiliated sponsors Infiniti and Total will remain on the car for next year, but not beyond that. Also, Red Bull would have to pay Renault more for the power units since the two sponsors would now actually pay less for exposure on the RB12 – that’s what happens when you’re not in a position to negotiate.
As far as Renault is concerned, they would use these additional funds to help their works team catch up to the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari – and let’s just throw Red Bull in there too, because they’ve never really been terrible.
Interestingly enough, some think that the Renault engines might get rebranded, allowing Renault to better focus on their own team from a marketing perspective.
“[The Rebranding] could be something exotic, it could be nothing, or one of those marketing things Red Bull is very good at. Because they have the Energy Station they could call it the Energy power unit, something leftfield,” said an Autosport source.
If Mateschitz decides to still pull his team out of Formula 1, even with a new Renault deal on the table, that would be a pretty big curve ball. Aside from that, if Red Bull is back with a stronger engine from the French manufacturer next year, their chances of upsetting at least Ferrari, will grow exponentially.