Red Bull to switch off Renault engines

LONDON • The Red Bull Formula One team will not use Renault engines next season, according to an Autosport report.

The two entities had been enduring an uneasy relationship for the past two seasons following a string of reliability and performance problems. Autosport said the tie-up will end this year despite a contract that runs until the end of next year.

It added that Red Bull have requested a termination of the partnership on the grounds that the French company has failed to meet performance clauses in the deal - and it will be accepted by Renault.

This comes after Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat took their seventh engines of the season for last weekend's Italian Grand Prix, resulting in big grid penalties.

However, both did well, with Ricciardo finishing eighth after starting in 19th position.

Kvyat moved up from 18th on the grid to 10th at the chequered flag.

Renault's future in Formula One has been the subject of speculation this season, after the French manufacturer was left behind by Mercedes and Ferrari since the introduction of complex turbo hybrid engines in F1 last year.

The outfit is considering its future in the sport following the breakdown of its relationship with Red Bull.

It is in the late stages of talks aimed at taking back control of the Lotus team and again becoming an entrant in its own right.

Renault owned the team from 2001-09 and won two world title doubles with Fernando Alonso in 2005-06.

If that does not work out, it might leave F1 altogether.

Red Bull now have only Mercedes and Ferrari as their realistic options for power next season.

However, Mercedes' No. 1 driver Lewis Hamilton has expressed his opposition to the idea of his team supplying Red Bull with engines .

"If we are serious about winning the world championship, probably not (a good idea to supply engines to Red Bull)," he said.

"Red Bull are a great team but it's like giving Ferrari our engines.

"We don't really need it. There is no financial benefit."

Mercedes currently lead the constructors' table with 451 points, followed by Ferrari (270), Williams (188) and Red Bull (113).

Mercedes themselves are wary of supplying Red Bull because of their history of antagonism with the engine partners.

However, it is understood there is some support for the idea of supplying Red Bull within the company on the grounds that it could be advantageous to be associated with a brand which has a youthful image.

But Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has made it clear he would not consider entering any talks with Red Bull while they still have a contract with Renault.

Mercedes and Renault are partners - with each owning 5 per cent of the other - and are collaborating on 10 projects in the road-car arena.

That may leave Red Bull with the only other option to sign a deal for Ferrari to supply engines. REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline 'Red Bull to switch off Renault engines'. Print Edition | Subscribe