2016 will be a “year of transition” for Red Bull’s two F1 teams, official Dr Helmut Marko has declared.
“We are keeping both teams in formula one,” he announced in Germany’s Sport Bild.
The energy drink company’s road to 2016 has been long and complex, with Red Bull expected to use Infiniti-branded Renault power while Toro Rosso switches to 2015-spec Ferrari engines.
But then in 2017, it will be all change.
To coincide with the introduction of radically faster chassis regulations, F1’s governing FIA and Bernie Ecclestone are pushing ahead with plans to sign up an exclusive supplier of alternative twin-turbo V6 engines to arrive in 2017.
The tender process was launched on Friday, with interested parties like Ilmor or Cosworth invited to apply by 23 November.
The first customer in line is Red Bull.
“2016 will be a year of transition for us,” said Marko. “In 2017 we expect the alternative engine. Both Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone have assured us.
“It will be cheaper and make us independent from the car manufacturers.”
Red Bull is therefore putting itself strongly on the side of the FIA and Ecclestone, with the ‘client engine’ plans opposed staunchly by the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes.
“It (the alternative engine) was the condition for us to stay in formula one,” Marko admitted to Auto Motor und Sport.
The next strategy group meeting is scheduled for November 24, one day after the deadline for expressions of interest in the role of independent ‘alternative engine’ supplier.
It is expected to be explosive, with the existing manufacturers preparing arguments against the proposal on the grounds of their contracts with the FIA and Ecclestone.
“Some people think they are super-smart,” said Ecclestone, “but we are not stupid.”
Auto Motor und Sport said Ferrari is devising a peace offering in the form of allowing customers to base a more affordable engine on its existing ‘power unit’, to be sold under the Alfa Romeo brand.
© RIF | GMM