Red Bull Racing has confirmed that it will race with a TAG Heuer-branded Renault power unit for the 2016 Formula 1 season.
Red Bull endured a difficult season on-track in 2015 due to running problems with the power unit supplied by Renault, prompting team owner Dietrich Mateschitz to issue a number of quit threats.
After negotiations with a number of possible alternative power unit suppliers including Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda came to nothing, paddock speculation suggested that a rebranded Renault engine was likely for 2016.
TAG Heuer ended its 30-year association with McLaren to become Red Bull’s new timing partner for 2016, but will now also enjoy naming rights on the power unit.
“As the curtain falls on the 2015 Formula 1 season and the sport gears up for next year’s challenge, the timing is right for Red Bull Racing to reveal that the team’s 2016 F1 car will race with a power unit carrying the name of motorsport’s most iconic timing brand – TAG Heuer,” a statement from Red Bull reads.
“The new partnership, which represents a shift away from F1’s conventional supply systems, will see TAG Heuer take up naming rights of the team’s power unit, which will be supplied by Renault.
“The new car will be christened the Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer RB12.
“Deepening the relationship between the team and the legendary timing house, which can call on more than half a century of heritage at the cutting edge of motorsport, TAG Heuer will become the Official Timekeeper, Official Watch Partner and Team Performance Partner of the Red Bull Racing team from 2016 in a multi-year partnership.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had previously said that the name of the power unit would irk McLaren CEO Ron Dennis, who rebranded Porsche engines as TAG successfully back in the 1980s.
Horner was delighted to welcome TAG Heuer on board, believing it to be one of the most exciting partnerships in F1.
“TAG Heuer and Red Bull are two transcendent brands which have both a passion for racing and a drive to do things differently, and this unique collaboration is further evidence of that,” Horner said.
“TAG Heuer has been an icon in the world of Formula 1 for many years and we’re delighted that they’ve chosen to continue their association with the sport by teaming up with us.
“Our shared values of innovation and a desire to stand out from the crowd make this one of the most exciting partnerships in F1.
“We are also pleased to see Renault confirm its long-term commitment to F1 and would like to thank them for their contribution to the team since 2007. Their technical partnership with Ilmor gives us confidence, and we look forward to the 2016 season.”