Ferrari open to supplying Red Bull with power units

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Maurizio Arrivabene has said that Ferrari is open to supplying Red Bull with power units for the 2015 Formula 1 season as the Austrian team’s relationship with Renault continues to sour.

After winning eight world championships between 2010 and 2013, Red Bull hit rocky ground in 2014 as its new Renault V6 turbo power unit failed to keep up with that of championship winners Mercedes.

In 2015, the crisis quickly deepened as Ferrari and Williams overtook Red Bull in the pecking order, prompting team owner Dietrich Mateschitz to threaten to leave the sport.

Red Bull and Renault’s contract expires at the end of the 2016 season, but according to a report from Autosport, this will be terminated one year early. The same publication reports that Mercedes has also rejected picking up the contract for fears of increased competition.

In turn, this has left Ferrari as the only realistic engine supplier for Red Bull in 2016, and Arrivabene hinted that he would be open to a deal in spite of the competition.

“Red Bull have big names, with Adrian Newey as chief designer, and it is easy to think if you give them the engine they will build a scary chassis, which means they will be really competitive,” he told The Guardian.

“My team, my engineers and aerodynamicists know their jobs. For that reason I don’t have a problem and competition is nice when you have a stronger competitor.

“This doesn’t mean tomorrow morning we will give our engines to Red Bull but I don’t see any problem to give our engine to any other team or be scared of the competition before they start. This is not the right spirit of competition, of what Ferrari represents. We fight with everybody.”

Renault is known to be in discussions with Lotus over a possible buy-out and revival of its works team for 2016, but a deal is yet to be struck between the two parties.

No official word has been issued yet about a split with Red Bull for 2016 either, with Christian Horner confirming at Monza last weekend that the team still has an agreement in place, albeit subject to conditions.

“Sitting here today we still have a contract with Renault,” Horner said. “To my knowledge I’ve not had any discussion with Ferrari – unless Maurizio can tell me differently.

“But we’ve got an agreement with Renault as I say, we’ve got conditions within that agreement that aren’t privy to this group here and time will tell in terms of what their future holds for them. So hopefully something will be forthcoming in the near future.”

Oddly, engine silly season is proving to be far more interesting than the driver silly season in 2015. Questions about Renault’s future affect Lotus, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, whilst Manor is also reported to be considering a switch to Mercedes power units for 2016.

Should Manor sign a deal with the world champions, it would most probably pave the way for Pascal Wehrlein to move from DTM into F1 in 2016, replacing either Will Stevens or Roberto Merhi.