MARCH 10, 2005
Red Bull and Honda
The big rumour in Formula 1 circles this week is that Red Bull Racing is in discussion with Honda. This is not a surprise as the Austrian-owned team wants to get a closer relationship with a manufacturer and has the money to spend to pay for engines. Honda is a sensible target just as Toyota, Renault, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are also strong possibilities. If Red Bull wants a manufacturer of its own, it will be more difficult as neither GM nor Volkswagen are showing any real signs of wanting to be involved in the sport and Ford only just got out and is not likely to come back in for a while yet. Probably the best move therefore would be to do a deal with one of the existing manufacturers and then try to use a different brand which suits Red Bull's marketing plans. Red Bull's big target market these days is America and so an American brand is a good idea. Fortunately, the big car companies all have US brands: Toyota has Lexus, Renault has Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz has Dodge and Honda has Acura. The skill now will be getting a deal and convincing the car makers of the merits of running one brand against another in the same formula.
One problem which must be taken into account is the fact that Red Bull is supposed, according to Bernie Ecclestone, to be lining up with him in the ongoing political fight in F1. If this is the case, there is no real logic in any of the manufacturers agreeing a deal to help the team grow.
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