After several dominant seasons, the shift to 1.6 litre turbo hybrid engines—last season—hit Red Bull hard. Last season, however, the RB10’s aerodynamics seemed to compensate for the lack of power of the Renault engine and Daniel Ricciardo was able to pull of three fantastic wins, being the only driver to beat the Mededes duo.
This year, things are not so ‘OK’ and the Renault power-unit has been suffering from both performance and reliability—so much so that Renault and, by default, Red Bull have suggested that they could pull out of F1 at the end of the season. Red Bull’s contract to compete with Renault engines ends at the end of 2016 anyway, so even if they can make it through another season the future is uncertain at this stage. Red Bull’s owner Dietrich Mateschitz said last month Renault had “destroyed our enjoyment and motivation”, and he also ruled out becoming a customer to another engine supplier.
That being said, things could change with a possible new deal with Aston Martin (AM). The high-end sport car manufacturer is negotiating a shock return to Formula 1 in a team-up deal with Red Bull for next season, and AM want to bring the high-performing Mercedes engines to the table—not sure how Mateschitz feels about this. Aston Martin competed in F1 for just two seasons, in 1959 and 1960, with very limited success. After Honda’s return the sport, AM joining the fray would IMO only be a good thing for F1, particularly for the fans and general competition.
The deal is currently still under negotiation, but the overall idea is that Aston Martin would become brand partner with the Red Bull Racing team in exchange for negotiating a deal for it to run the Mercedes F1 engine as a Mercedes customer team. The fact that Aston Martin would want Red Bull to run Merc’s engine is no surprise; Mercedes actually owns five per cent of AM.
According the AUTOSPORT, the deal is said to have the blessing of Mercedes, which is eager to run more customer teams to offset the costs of its investment in F1 and does not consider Aston Martin to be a competitor for road car sales.
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