Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko has revealed that the team is still hopeful of securing an alternative engine for the 2017 Formula 1 season despite confirming its engine plans for next year.
Red Bull became embroiled in a long-running engine saga in 2015 that saw the team push for a switch to Mercedes, Ferrari or Honda power units due to its dissatisfaction with the work of existing partner Renault.
Marko (pictured left) was very vocal on the matter, issuing a number of quit threats and public warnings to Renault, but Red Bull will continue to use a power unit produced by the French manufacturer in 2016, albeit named ‘TAG Heuer’ after the watch company.
However, Marko revealed that the team is still hoping to secure an alternative engine for 2017 upon the expiration of its deal with Renault if it cannot sufficiently develop its new power unit.
“We still hope for an alternate engine from 2017,” Marko told Red Bull-owned publication Speedweek. “Or Renault develops itself so well in 2016 that you can agree an extension.”
F1 bosses Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone are known to be chasing the introduction of a cheaper client engine for 2017, and were given a mandate by the FIA earlier this week to push through any required changes.
There were concerns over Red Bull’s participation in the first pre-season test in Barcelona, due to start on February 22, due to the engine delay, but Marko is adamant that the team will make it.
“We had to cope with a two-month delay, but we will do it,” Marko said. “We will be in Barcelona.”