Ever since Honda broke the news of their decision to leave F1 after 2021, Red Bull have been weighing all possible options for a new engine supplier. Renault, of course, were also mentioned among other names.
The relationship between Red Bull and Renault over time has been a very unusual one. It is not to be forgotten that Red Bull won 4 championships with the French manufacturers’ engines.
However, since the 2018 season, the Austrian-licensed outfit suffered a level of underperformance with Renault’s power units. And finally, in 2019, they decided to partner with Honda to power their cars.
Renault boss Abiteboul thinks Red Bull are trying to work out a deal with Honda
Using re-badged Honda engines remains a viable solution for Red Bull. And Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul believes that they are trying to work out some kind of arrangement with the Japanese manufacturers.
He was quoted as saying, “I think it’s clear they (Red Bull) are trying to develop a different plan. I don’t think we are their Plan A, Plan B or whatever, we are far down the alphabet order.
Ricciardo and Abiteboul speaking with the Channel 4 crew after today’s qualifying in Portugal (8 mins) from r/formula1
“So I think they are trying to see if they can work out some magic deal with Honda. Which I think would be great, because finally they will be able to experience what it means to be an engine supplier.
“So bit to be on the other side of the barrier, no one to complain against. They could be able to complain against themselves.”
The team could make their engine supplier decision by end of 2020
Perhaps the rocky relationship between Renault and Red Bull would force the latter to choose the path where they get to be the masters of their power units.
However, the development of engines has always been a costly business, and it requires a lot of investment.
Regarding the engine supplier decision timeline, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner had also earlier stated, “Ideally by the end of the year.
“Because, of course, the engine forms an integral part within your 2022 design. So ideally by the end of this year, so the design team go into next year with a clear set of parameters.”
As it stands, all options remain open for Red Bull with the current season coming to an end. However, they will want to secure a deal ahead of the 2022 technical regulations.