Mercedes have cooled their interest in supplying their rivals Red Bull with engines, news emerged today. With Red Bull’s broken relationship with current engine partners Renault seemingly in tatters it is thought that the Milton Keynes outfit have served notice to the French engine manufacturer that they wish to terminate their contract for 2016.
With Renault widely expected to make a return to F1 as an official constructor, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko told German press today “As far as we’re concerned the matter of Mercedes is closed. The focus for us is now elsewhere,”.
The divorce between Red Bull and their engine partners has probably been one of the season’s most bitter, and worst kept secrets and even before this morning’s news, the scenario that both parties would honour their existing contract seemed highly unlikely.
Mercedes may have been influenced by comments made by Hamilton at the weekend where he stated flatly “We’re here to win so we don’t really need it. There’s no financial benefit really in it (providing engines to Red Bull), so I think we’re good where we are”.
Red Bull’s best (and really only bet) now rests with former engine partners Ferrari who they shared a partnership with back in 2006 before jumping ship to France. Ferrari boss Arrivabene did little to deny Red Bull – Ferrari rumours by saying “This doesn’t mean tomorrow morning we will give our engines to Red Bull but I don’t see any problem to give our engine to any other team or be scared of the competition before they start. This is not the right spirit of competition, of what Ferrari represents. We fight with everybody.”
It remains to be seen whether Lotus will continue to use Mercedes engines into 2016 with Renault currently in talks to buy back the Enstone based team and enter as a fully fledged constructor as early as next year. If Renault do indeed purchase Lotus before the end of the season, the team would most likely be using Renault power as early as next season, regardless of whether the French team’s manufacturer effort was ready in time for coming season.