The whole complex situation surrounding McLaren, Toro Rosso, Renault, and Honda has ended up with unintended consequences for the Red Bull team.
With Toro Rosso likely to be using Honda engines next year, Red Bull was going to keep a close eye on the performance and potentially make the switch to Honda itself for 2019, as that’s when its contract with Renault comes to an end.
The problem for Red Bull is that Renault doesn’t want to be a part of Red Bull’s waiting game, and sources suggest it won’t be renewing the contract at the end of next year, even if Red Bull want to. An official announcement is due on Friday in Singapore.
Renault has been supplying Red Bull with engines since 2007 and has spent years being criticised by Red Bull (even when the team was winning championships), and this latest situation has proved to be the final straw in the strained relationship.
Since Mercedes and Ferrari are about as likely to supply engines to Red Bull as the Force India teammates are to race each other cleanly, that means it’ll be pretty much forced into using Honda engines, even if they’re still as hopeless as they are now. Well, it’s that or leaving the sport completely…
If Red Bull doesn’t just end up quitting (or selling the team to someone else in the meantime), this opens up the door to the rumours that Porsche is interested in buying out the Red Bull team in 2021, which coincides with the new engine regulations.
It’s also likely to have huge implications for next year’s driver market. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are both out of contract at the end of 2018 – can you imagine either wanting to commit to a team with an uncertain future?
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