After waiting around for a final decision that has not happened, the fight between Red Bull Racing and Renault has taken an expected twist a week and a half before the French Grand Prix. The engine manufacturer announced Tuesday (June 12th) that the Austrian squad has only until this weekend to decide if they want to renew their contract or seek engines elsewhere – with all signs pointing to Honda.
Red Bull moved their extension to the first of July, when their home grand prix is to be run, to finally decide on what power plants they want. But the current supplier, lead by Cyril Abiteboul, is having none of it, referring to the fact that Red Bull only had a deadline after the recent Canadian Grand Prix to finalize the deal.
“I guess they have all the information that they need now. I don’t see why they are going to further delay the decision,” he told motorsport.com. “Past a certain point, the offer we made, and that they requested, will not stand, the Frenchman added. “It was Montreal that they wanted to wait for: our new spec, Honda’s new spec. We will not be able to wait for the sort of timing that they’ve mentioned this weekend. I have a date, they know the day, but we are not talking about Austria. Austria, we won’t be here, and they will be talking directly to Honda,” he said.
Abiteboul’s move to have Red Bull’s decision made quickly, is due to the company’s needs to source the components for the engines, which are also under contract with McLaren until 2020. But for Red Bull, who in a dispute two years ago left the French manufacturer’s logo off of their cars by branding it Tag Heuer, after their watch sponsorship, feel that this week is not going to be enough time to decide. This deal could be finally finished, following four seasons of political disputes, in which Renault will not even respond to Abiteboul’s request.
“He won’t get it.” Snapped Red Bull’s Helmut Marko to Autosport, meaning a decision.
“I can’t tell you anything until Austria.” He added. “We will have facts which we are waiting for, and we want to be prepared to make the right decision.”
Are those ideas coming from Japan? It might come to an end this week, in what has been a soap opera of a relationship, that the curtain could finally be coming down.