Mercedes rejects Red Bull after sad F1 break-up

Red Bull’s hunt for a new power unit supplier are narrowing after Mercedes flatly rejected the possibility of teaming up with the team’s closest rivals.

It comes after Honda stunned the F1 world, revealing it would end its current engine deal with Red Bull at the end of the 2021 season in a shock announcement last week.

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In a statement Honda said it would be focusing on going carbon neutral by the year 2050.

Having only come back into F1 in 2019, it was an all too brief return to the sport, despite five race wins — one for Max Verstappen and one for AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly — over the past two years as Red Bull became the main competitor for the all-conquering Mercedes.

It leaves just three engine suppliers left in the sport with Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault — the team Red Bull left on less than friendly terms in 2018.

Currently, Mercedes supply Williams, Racing Point (which will be renamed Aston Martin next season) and McLaren from 2021, who are moving on from Renault, while Ferrari supply Alfa Romeo and Haas.

Renault will only be supplying itself as of 2021, as its works team which will be renamed Alpine.

Appendix 9 of the FIA sporting regulations “obliging the manufacturer with the least partners to supply a competitor with no alternatives”, according to autosport.com.

While Renault’s team principal Cyril Abiteboul said the team would “comply with the regulation”, he admitted Renault would likely not “be their Plan A”.

Red Bull don’t have too many options for an engine supplier.Source:AFP

But the options have narrowed even further with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff rejecting the possibility of the teams linking up.

“No, for many reasons,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff when asked by Sky Sports F1 if they would consider supplying the Red Bull teams.

“But the most important one is that we simply have no capacity, We decided to get McLaren on board last year (for 2021) which is a relationship we‘ve had since a long time, a great brand and good people, and we are absolutely on the max of our capacity.

“Even getting McLaren on board was already a stretch.”

Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto left a bit more wiggle room but didn’t seem too excited by the prospect of supplying Red Bull.

“It‘s something which we’re not considering at all, because obviously we could not foresee such a decision,” admitted team principal Binotto about the prospect of supplying Red Bull. ”It’s something which we need to think about, but we haven’t yet.

“I think we need to make our own considerations, as Red Bull need to do too. Let‘s see what’s happening in the next weeks.”

Honda have made it difficult for Red Bull.Source:Getty Images

THE OPTIONS FOR RED BULL

If Mercedes stick by their words and Ferrari turn down Red Bull, there are still three options for Red Bull.

The first is find a new supplier, but that option has plenty of risks for both the team and the supplier with the current engines an expensive hybrid engine.

Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul said Honda’s withdrawal showed that engine manufacturers are too intimidated by the financial and technological pressures associated with being involved in F1

He called for engine regulation changes, which are set to be reassessed at the end of the 2025 season, to be brought forward to bring more manufacturers into the sport.

“We want an F1 with car makers, with OEMs, with engine suppliers, and being down to three engine manufacturers is not a positive development,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

“The engine situation is simply unsustainable. In particular from an economic perspective, but also from a technology perspective.

“The entry ticket is so high in terms of costs, but also in terms of technology.

“We need to think harder about the environmental sustainability of the engine, about the economic sustainability of the engine.

“There has been a bit that has been done, but it’s not enough. We need to be harder on that.”

The next option for Red Bull is to get another supplier to buy the Honda intellectual property and rebadge the engine.

Christian Horner is in a spot of bother.Source:Getty Images

The final option appears to be Renault, which was fruitful in the past, with Red Bull winning four straight drivers championships with Renault engines between 2010 and 2013 before the acrimonious split.

“We have to look at all the options. We have a bit of time to consider all of the options,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told Sky F1 at the Eifel Grand Prix.

“One thing‘s for sure, we need a competitive engine. A team like Red Bull, the situation we’ve been in the past, we need to be in a competitive position and we need a competitive power unit.

“But, of course, cost is a key factor in that, regulations are a key factor in that, and we have to explore all the options in terms of the availability of supply, who would be prepared to supply and obviously under what conditions.”

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