May 27 (GMM) Renault and Red Bull seem poised to extend their engine deal beyond 2016.
After the breakdown of their semi-works partnership last year, the parties agreed to enter a customer supply deal for 2016, with Red Bull’s Renault engines now branded as Tag-Heuer.
Red Bull, however, has rarely been happier with Renault than now.
“Everything Renault has promised has been delivered,” team boss Christian Horner said in Monaco, where Daniel Ricciardo is setting the pace with his upgraded turbo V6 engine.
The two sides have already signalled their intention with the FIA to stick together in 2017, and negotiations are so well advanced that a deal could be struck this weekend.
However, it is believed Red Bull is paying a whopping EUR 28 million to Renault this year, with the energy drink-owned team trying to talk down that price.
“Red Bull is as usual a tough negotiator, but it is the mutual desire to carry on as we are,” said Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul.
One big benefit for Renault is that, according to Auto Motor und Sport, a new super-simulator went online at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes headquarters recently.
In one room, the driver works on the simulator while next door an actual car on rollers – including engine, transmission and tyres – is operating thanks to groundbreaking EUR 30 million technology.
“They do not yet have such test stands in Viry,” observed Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko.
Indeed, Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda admits that Red Bull is “one step ahead” in this area compared to any partner or competitor in F1.