Red Bull Racing’s engine troubles are the hot-topic in Formula 1 right now. After their relationship with Renault went sour earlier this year, the team was left searching for a new power unit for 2016. Partnerships with Mercedes and Honda both fell through, and now Ferrari seems to be all the team has left.
During Ferrari’s Finali Mondiali event in Italy earlier this month, Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne said the team is in talks with Red Bull to provide the team with their engineering and production services. Red Bull would use the team’s assets to develop their own engine separate from Ferrari’s, but before this plan was brought up, a tie-in with its Alfa Romeo brand was also explored.
According to Motorsport, Ferrari had the idea to give its powerplant to Red Bull and to brand the team as Alfa Romeo. The team would then be free to use the 32 development tokens offered to teams in the off-season to improve and change the engine, however the plan never came to fruition.
A wide range of factors contributed to the plan’s demise. In addition to cost-related factors, Red Bull believed the power unit would never be able to live up to Ferrari’s own power unit. FIA rules also state that “a manufacturer may homologate no more than one specification of power unit,” which would make the proposed Alfa Romeo engine illegal.
Red Bull could still be poised for a Ferrari tie-up, however as previously stated, the team would simply use Ferrari’s assets to develop their own engine. That would also be an expensive venture, but with Red Bull’s deadline to secure an engine for 2016 nearing, they may have no other choice.