Red Bull Confirms 2016 F1 Entry Despite Not Having Engine Supplier
So, Red Bull will be a part of the 2016 Formula One season after all. That appears to be the case now that the team has formally lodged its entry with the FIA for next season, putting all the rumors of its Formula One exit to bed — at least for the time being.
With one issue on the verge of being settled, the team can now turn its attention to its other big problem: finding an engine supplier. As it stands, Renault is still the likeliest candidate to continue supplying Red Bull with its engines. but even that is still under negotiations depending on the improvements the French supplier makes on the development of its turbocharged V-6 engines. Those V-6s have regularly under performed since Formula One began using them to replace the old V-8s in 2013, causing Red Bull to stumble back to mediocrity after winning four straight world titles with the old V-8s.
So, while it seems that the Red Bull-Renault marriage will last for another year, we all know that nothing in Formula One is what it seems until an announcement is made. It’s still possible for Red Bull to end what has become a contentious relationship with Renault in favor of partnering up with any of the three series’ other engine suppliers, namely Ferrari, Mercedes, and Honda. Multiple reports indicate that Red Bull has had discussions with all three suppliers, including one with Ferrari to use a separately-developed engine badged under Alfa Romeo, but none of those talks amounted to anything resembling progress.
If Red Bull does push forward and participate in the 2016 season — it has until the end of November 2015 to pay the entry fee — it’s going to be interesting to see which engine partner it’s going to have for the upcoming season. If it’s Renault, it’s going to be difficult picturing the team as a championship contender given how far behind those engines are compared to the dominant Mercedes V-6s. But, if Red Bull decides to go another direction and partners with either Mercedes or Ferrari, it could instantly turn into a team worth looking into ahead of the 2016 F1 season.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but at least there’s some kind of progress on whether we’ll see Red Bull back in the grid next year. At this point, it’s just nice to hear that the dominant team at the start of this decade isn’t giving up hope of returning to that perch just yet.
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Why it matters
I remember feeling a little perturbed seeing Red Bull dominate Formula One every season. It represented a lot of the things I didn’t like about Formula One. In a lot of ways, it’s the same thing with Mercedes the past few seasons. I want Formula One to be more competitive, but the current rules in place puts that competition in the factories and R&D centers, not on trace tracks where they’re supposed to be.
So, while I admit to being a little glad seeing Red Bull come crashing back to earth, I’ll also concede that I don’t want one of Formula One’s glamour teams to leave the sport entirely because it can’t find an engine supplier that can field it a competitive car. Ideally, I want the entire grid to run the same engine, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. So, the next best thing is for Red Bull to find an engine partner that can help make it competitive once again. I don’t know who that supplier is, but I hope it has enough to give Red Bull a reason to reclaim its title from Mercedes.
The good news is that it’s looking more and more likely that Red Bull will be a part of the 2016 F1 season. Once the team is able to settle the entry fee, it should focus all of its attention to having a competitive car. That starts with having an engine that can go toe-to-toe with Mercedes. In a perfect world, I’d want that to be Renault so we’ll at least have three different engine suppliers competing for the title.
That said, all of this is still wishful thinking until the team can figure out its next play. That’s the big story in Formula One right now, and like most fans of the sport, I want to see a happy ending come out of it. Let’s face it, Formula One wouldn’t be the same without Red Bull in it.