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APRIL 5, 2006

Red Bull hits Renault for new staffer

Red Bull Racing continues its recruiting and has just hit Renault F1 for another key player, having hired the Enstone team's head of manufacturing Keith Saunt. The news was announced at Red Bull this morning. Saunt has long experience in Formula 1 dating back to 1987 when he joined Team Lotus as a buyer. He moved to Benetton a year later and gradually moved more into the operations of the team before moving into industry for a while. When Renault took over Benetton in 2001 he was hired to be head of manufacturing. He will move to Red Bull Racing in the course of the next few months to be head of operations. This is probably because he is bound by a six-month notice period with Renault.

There are whispers in F1 that there will be other Red Bull announcements in the weeks ahead as the team continueed to put together a team which it hopes will be able to win races in the future. The key element in this programme, however, is engine supply and while Red Bull's deal with Ferrari is supposed to last until the end of 2007, we believe that the deal may be axed sooner than that because in order to win the team needs an engine of wwhich it has exclusive use. The best available option in that respect is Cosworth Racing and Red Bull has the money to either fund Cosworth to build engines on its behalf, or to buy the company outright and thus secure a much cheaper way of having engines in the future. Given that Red Bull needs V8 engines for two teams in 2007 (when Cosworth V10s are banned) this is a logical move.

Cosworth owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe are, ultimately, venture-capitalists and are unlikely to look a gift horse in the mouth (as long as they are guaranteed an engine supply for their Champ Car series for as long as they need it) and Red Bull is not short of cash so a deal must be on the cards.