Ferrari only lifeline for RBR/STR as quest for Mercedes falters

There are increasing signs that Red Bull’s attempt to get Mercedes engines for 2016 is likely to fail, despite strong lobbying from the drinks company.

Bernie Ecclestone has been pushing for it to happen as he wants RBR to be a competitive force, but Toto Wolff has been admanant all along that there were many downside to such a deal – most notably the very obvious one of handing the best power unit in the paddock to the one team with arguably a stronger chassis and aero department than Mercedes itself has.

In addition there has long been a frosty relationship between Mercedes and Red Bull, and two have always been in rival camps in the DTM, for example. The Mercedes management is known to have been furious when Red Bull jumped ship and signed up with Bernie Ecclestone after the last Concorde Agreement ended.

Daimler/Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche is assumed to have the final call, but asked by this writer in Monza about the prospects for a deal he would only say: I have not got an official request for the engine so there’s no need for any official comment.”

If Mercedes has made a final decision Red Bull’s only alternative to Renault is to return to Ferrari, renewing a partnership that last just one season in 2006 before the Italian engines were passed to Toro Rosso.

Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne announced to the media in Austria in June that Ferrari would be willing to supply Red Bull.

It’s in our DNA, we’ve done it before,” said Marchionne. “I think we can provide engines to any of the teams that want to race. As long as we keep control over the aerodynamic work on the car, I think there’s going to be enough distinguishing traits between us and the competition. We are more than glad to try and provide a level playing field, now that the engine is there.

I talk to everybody. And I have a lot of respect for Red Bull. I think they’ve done a lot for the sport, they’ve had the world championship for a number of years. I think they will find their way again and if we can help them get there, we’d be more than glad to do it.”

Meanwhile it had been widely expected that if RBR went with Mercedes then Toro Rosso would go back to Ferrari, having used the Italian engines in 2007-13. With Haas coming on board it remains to be seen whether Ferrari would have the capacity to add both RBR and STR to its list of customers, but a possible move by Manor to Mercedes would potentially help.

As you know we have a Renault contract, the rest we will see,” Franz Tost told this writer. “We have a good relationship with Ferrari, but this does not mean that we will be partners in the future. We will see, the future will show us. Currently we are contracted to Renault.”

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Ferrari only lifeline for RBR/STR as quest for Mercedes falters

  1. ?uestlove. Love Farrari’s powerless units RBR do. Why not? Would be fun.

  2. ACx

    Why are Ferrari happy to be potentially beaten by RBR? Surely Ferrari have as much, if not more, to lose by this. Makes no sense to me at all. If the engines are equal, Its not unlikely that RBR could consistently out perform Ferrari. It would make Ferrari as both a team and brand look ridiculous, and worse still, incompetent.

    Given how F1 is, it is possible that all that extra money they get from Bernie, which they routinely fail to turn in to championships, comes with some strings?

    • Solo

      Because there are also benefits. First they control the power units their competitor has. Equal may be a word but if Red Bull are beating them then they will make sure the engine behind that Red Bull is a little less equal.

      Second with Red Bull as a client they get more money for their engine program and at the cost of a competitor who funds them. Not bad i will say.
      Red Bull will give 20 millions each year to Ferrari and Ferrari will make a nice little gain from that to invest in beating Red Bull.

      Third. Marketing. Ferrari gets more exposure by having a strong team like Red Bull powered by them.

  3. Phil Brown

    F1 is just part of Red Bull’s multi thousand dollar marketing machine.
    And it’s just as disposable as any other part of its multi hundred thousand dollar marketing machine. Maybe it will decide to put the dollars into making Rallycross as big as F1.
    Or air racing.
    Or who knows.

  4. GeorgeK

    Read somewhere that Ferrari may be looking to supply RBR and TR with this years engine as opposed to next years upgraded unit. Unlikely they will outperform Ferrari or the other Ferrari customer teams who receive upgraded 2016 units. A risk still, with Newey working his chassis magic, but only a slight one.

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