Mark the Tape: This is a smoke screen. A convenient one, but smoke screen none the less.
Renault and Red Bull are at odds. Sure, Renault is behind the power curve with their new power-plants. they were last year in the first year f the new rules package, and they still lag behind today. Both speed and reliability are issues. With Red Bull used to leading the pack, this is a mutually frustrating situation. Compound that with the fact that for the second season, Red Bull is struggling (albeit this time only after one GP), which get more upsetting with each GP they do not win.
A wise man once said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Well, Red Bull has was very powerful for 4 or 5 years, winning 4 Double Championships in a row. When powerful people do not get their way – tempers flair, words are said, and now the words are out that Renault is tired of the powerful Red Bull team principles bad-mouthing their product and that they may leave F1 because of it.
Renault is struggling with the new rules, as are most teams. Really, Mercedes is the only team that has put the rules to work in a formula that gets power to the ground, and wins races constantly. It’s true – they are THE dominant team. But they have done it by following the rules set forth by FIA, and just simply out working the other teams and doing it better than anyone. This is not a new thing in F1, it has happened many times before. McLaren, Williams, Ferrari, Mercedes, and even other minor teams have had periods of domination. It’s par for the course. But in this day and age of the 24 hour news cycle and information hitting the wires and social media before the conversations are even over, Renault is also facing a Public Relations nightmare. I think they’d like to nip this in the bud.
Yes, Renault has problems, but so does Team Red Bull. Team Red Bull is for the first time facing minor financial woes. Not
that they cannot fund the team, as they surely can, but financial woes in that they are not as prosperous as they once were. that fact in hand, the owner of Red Bull and lower profit margins from his venture into F1 motorsports (along with the fact that he can’t stand not winning!) is talking about pulling out of F1 all together. It has also been rumored and has put word out that the Red Bull developmental team Torro Rosso might be for sale.
Here’s how I think this will turn out. Renault will leave alright. They are going to leave Red Bull, but not F1. Renault will make an effort to buy the Torro Rosso team, solving the financial issues with Red Bull, and re-creating a Renault Works Team – which is what they really want.
You see, much of the money problems that Red Bull current has are about paying for engines from Renault. Since the engines are not performing, my speculation is that Red Bull is refusing to pay – at least in time. So while the “buy out” of Torro Rosso may not make Red Bull flush with cash, it will absolve the mass portion of its debt to income ratio, allowing them to free up funds for engine purchases elsewhere – maybe Honda?
This might take a couple of years, but Renault sees the opportunity to get back into F1 as a works team and do so very near the top of the ranks. Maybe the can win Alonso back for a few twilight years in his career and relive the victories and championship of the past?