Bernie Ecclestone had to get involved as Red Bull broke its Renault contract and searched for a new engine supplier. That is the claim of Livio Oricchio, the respected correspondent for Brazil's Globo, as the future of the former quadruple world championship-winning team shapes up.
It is now widely believed that Renault has accepted Red Bull's decision to split and tie up with Ferrari power for 2016 after talks with Mercedes collapsed. "I am sure that we will find a solution. The question is whether we needed to get to that point," F1 supremo Ecclestone is quoted as having said at Monza.
Oricchio speculated that Ecclestone got directly involved in talks with Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, fearing that F1 could lose two teams - Red Bull and Toro Rosso - in one fell swoop. Indeed, the apparent Ferrari deal has been made very late, despite Dr Helmut Marko's insistence that the hugely-resourced Red Bull could afford to wait until "December" for the identity of the new supplier to be known.
But Sauber technical chief Gianpaolo Dall'Ara said a late call like that would "be a problem, of course". He said teams need to plan far ahead when it comes to radiator, air intake, weight distribution and basic aerodynamics designs, which are all inextricably linked to engine parameters and the related hybrid technology.
The signatures on the page are now waiting for Renault to finalise its own plans, which are currently hinging on talks with embattled Lotus. One rumour doing the rounds is that Renault itself orchestrated the Charles Pic court bailiff saga of Spa, given the French driver's historical links to the carmaker, in order to increase urgency and drive down the price. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing