So it seems that Red Bull may be destined to leave Formula 1 in the same cloud of publicity with which they entered it.
Like the spoilt child that takes away his ball when he stops winning the game, Red Bull’s threat to leave the sport should they not be given the promise of a competitive engine from a supplier in the coming weeks also extends to their sister team Torro Rosso.
Red Bull maintain that their ‘marriage’ with Renault is irrecoverably damaged and they do not foresee them continuing their relationship into 2016 – Renault it seems are tired of the demands of their partner and are looking to go it alone with their own works team by buying the ailing Lotus outfit.
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They’ve enjoyed a lot of success with their partnership with Renault – four back to back Constructors and Drivers World Championship titles with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel. Yet now it seems, having fallen on comparatively hard times with their Renault engine and power unit unable to compete with the mighty Mercedes team, they are prepared to say goodbye.
If we look at this from a the perspective of a strategic business move then it seems beneficial – they will have a host of publicity for the energy drinks giant and drop the huge financial burden of supporting a top flight F1 team.
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However, lest we forget, they have spent as much time coming through the field as being right at the front. Before the years of success, there were years of, shall we say, mediocrity? So why now do they show their impatience?
Previously you might have seen them as a good-humoured team, content to enjoy the glamour and lifestyle of F1 without really bothering the front of the grid. Who can forget the Monaco 2005 tie-in with the Star Wars movie where the mechanics in the pit-lane were bedecked in storm-trooper ‘costumes’ to carry out their tyre-changing duties?
To show they’re serious, Red Bull have now called on the F1 ‘supremo’ Bernie Ecclestone to help their cause – who seems by reputation to take coercion to new levels in achieving his goals.
The major sticking point at the moment would appear to be that Ferrari are reluctant to give another team their latest engine spec (being as they are already supplying Sauber and Manor-Marussia) and moreover a team with a renowned designer that might be able to compete or worse, beat them.
Similarly Mercedes only briefly entertained the possibility of supplying their engine and power unit to Red Bull, but decided quickly that they would remain aloof of such an agreement.
It seems the Scuderia would be happy to supply a 2015-spec engine to the Red Bull teams but this is not good enough for a team who, having tasted the sweet victory champagne apparently would not be happy with cut-price Prosecco.
In the soap-opera sport of F1, expect a further twist in the tale before the end. Red Bull may yet get back in bed with Renault.
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