Italian automakers Ferrari have declined Red Bull’s request to supply them engines, leaving them without an engine supply for the 2016 season. They have, however, agreed to supply Red Bull’s b-team Scuderia Toro Rosso.
After a year fraught with engine issues and several public disagreements, the Austrian outfit and their current engine suppliers, French automakers Renault, decided to end their relationship last month. Renault, which had a highly successful works team in Formula 1 – Fernando Alonso won both his championships with the team – will take over embattled team Lotus, who have had several issues of their own during the year.
4-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who won all his championships with Red Bull, was outperformed by teammate Daniel Ricciardo (who is still with Red Bull) in the 2014 season, and this is perhaps a significant factor in the team’s rejection. Bosses at the Prancing Horse had previously suggested they did not want to make competition more difficult for themselves, and under new F1 rules that would come into effect next year, Ferrari would be obligated to provide all teams being supplied by them the latest, homologated engines, closing the gap to its own drivers.
Earlier this year, soon after the team took the decision to end their association with Renault, they approached Mercedes to supply engines for the 2016 season. Team boss Toto Wolff, non-executive chairman Niki Lauda and lead driver Lewis Hamilton were all said to be against the decision, with Mercedes ultimately declining Red Bull.
In addition to their works team, Mercedes currently supply Force India, Williams and Lotus, while Ferrari supply Sauber, Manor-Marussia and their own works team.
Team principal Christian Horner has said the future is ‘uncertain’ for the team, with the Briton and motorsport chief Helmut Marko saying the team would “leave Formula 1 without a competitive engine.”
It appears drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, who have both put in good performances this year, have been left without an engine for next year, unless the team work an alternate deal out with Renault, or partner British manufacturers Cosworth to build on their power units instead.
Kvyat, who will ride his home race at the Russian Grand Prix this weekend, scored his first ever Formula One podium this year, finishing 2nd at the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo. The team are 4th in the constructors’ standings with 139 points behind Williams, with both drivers showing immense promise for the following year despite several power unit failures and penalties for replacements.
There is no word yet on what the team will now do, or what is in the future for 26-year-old Ricciardo and 21-year-old Kvyat.
More to follow.