Red Bull and Renault are obviously now spiralling towards official divorce. It is said that even Carlos Ghosn, the Renault CEO, has accepted Red Bull's move to end the contract, even though it will cost the energy drink stable EUR 88 million per year in Infiniti and Total sponsorship.
"We can say more in Singapore," Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko told Speed Week, "or in Singapore there will be a meeting with Renault in which all these things are discussed and a solution is made." One of the topics to be discussed is how to handle the remainder of the 2015 season.
Renault has been working on a 'Sochi' upgrade for its current turbo V6 power unit, but the French carmaker has subsequently delayed it until Austin. Now, it is not clear if the unit will ever see the light of day. According to Red Bull chiefs, they want to weigh up whether the performance gains are worth more grid penalties.
But it is also rumoured that Renault will simply withhold the specification, so as not to feed Red Bull and Toro Rosso information that could be passed onto their new engine supplier, which will almost certainly be Ferrari. "Naturally, it depends on what we do in the future," Renault's Cyril Abiteboul admitted. "If Renault decides to leave formula one, then we don't need to bring an improved engine."
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo would obviously be disappointed to forego the update, likening it to looking forward to a birthday present that never comes. However, the Australian said he is keeping up his motivation for now, even though watching the Red Bull-Renault divorce play out from the inside has been frustrating.
"It is difficult for a driver with these issues that do not relate directly to the racing, as there is not much you can do," Ricciardo told Italy's Motorionline. "You just try to look at the positives and adapt to the situation," he added. "In the end we (drivers) are still doing an amazing job, we're travelling the world and well paid, so even when things aren't great it's still not so bad." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing