According to reports in the German media, Red Bull Racing has come to a resolution over its 2010 engine-supplier in F1 – with a decision that will likely take the paddock by some surprise.
Auto Motor und Sport
magazine has revealed that the energy drinks-backed outfit has concluded a deal that will see it prolong its agreement with Renault for a third consecutive campaign, despite many having surmised that the relationship had run its course off the back of a succession of reliability woes that arguably cost Sebastian Vettel the chance to take the title fight to eventual world champion Jenson Button.
Whilst there were six victories for RBR – four for Vettel and two for team-mate Mark Webber – and no fewer than four one-two finishes in 2009, more than any other team in the field, the engine failures that afflicted the young German most notably in Valencia cost the Milton Keynes-based squad dear, as bulletproof rivals Brawn GP carted off all the silverware. There were also concerns last year that a mid-season lack of power was holding back the efforts of both Red Bull and the works Renault F1 operation alike.
However, it was RBR who triumphed in all three of the last races of 2009 in Japan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi – and the extension of the Renault contract was allegedly reached ahead of the season finale in the United Arab Emirates, in which Vettel led Webber to the chequered flag.
Red Bull has publicly insisted that there has been no decision yet made, but if true, the deal will put an end to speculation linking the team to a tie-up with Mercedes-Benz, who powered Brawn to 2009 glory. It is understood that any such move was vetoed by McLaren, in whom the Stuttgart manufacturer owns a 40 per cent stake. A switch to F1 returnee Cosworth had also been mooted.