AUGUST 22, 2015
Red Bull terminates Renault engine deal?
Rumours about the futures of Red Bull, Renault and Lotus are speeding away just as quickly as the cars at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday.
Bailiffs are still swirling around the embattled Lotus camp, as the current owners hold fire on their problems while Renault is poised to decide whether or not to buy back the Enstone team.
The possibility remains, however, that the French carmaker will simply quit formula one altogether.
"If Renault does not stay in formula one," said Mercedes' Toto Wolff, "then there will be two teams that need engines.
"But if Renault makes its factory team, what does that mean then for Red Bull and Toro Rosso? There are a lot of variants that we have to play through," he told Speed Week.
The big rumour on Saturday is that Red Bull has already pre-empted the outcome and given notice to Renault that it is terminating its agreement for 2016.
Reportedly, Red Bull gave its notice in the middle of last week, arguing that poor performance justifies the termination.
For now, Dr Helmut Marko is not saying.
"The official answer is that until the end of 2016 we have a contract with Renault," the Red Bull official told Auto Motor und Sport in Belgium.
"According to our information, Renault will decide about its future in Monza. After that, we will act accordingly," added Marko.
But the rumour is that Red Bull is in fact not waiting, so that a contractual dispute with Renault could now wind up in court.
Mercedes is reluctant to interfere with that spat, but Bernie Ecclestone is believed to be pressuring the German marque to step up with an alternate engine supply for Red Bull.
Wolff said: "Politics in formula one also plays a role, concerning the overall balance of the sport and our position as a team. And with regard to the potential danger that exists in giving our opponents an engine."
But a Mercedes insider added: "Internal competition is good for business. If we want to be the best, we have to beat them all."