Inconsistencies In The Facts Presented About Possible Red Bull Exit from F1

23 Sep

The Fat HippoGo into any big internet forum with an F1 section these days and locate the almost inevitable thread named “Red Bull threatening to withdraw” or something similar. The level of vitriol you’ll meet there is enough to run an Alchemist’s laboratory. You’d think that Mateschitz & Co. have a habit of kicking puppies.

I’ve written in an earlier post that most people’s claims (including coming from the company itself) that Red Bull failed to give Renault credit when they were winning, is plainly wrong. First of all the Renault logo was clearly visible on the cars and driver overalls, the engine supplier was part of the team’s name and therefore on display whenever a winning list with Vettel or Webber on top was displayed, and ultimately it was FIA who prevented them from sending a Renault representative to the podium ceremony to get the team trophy. It was just as idiotic a move from the organizers as forbidding Vettel to take the Ferrari flag with him onto the podium last Sunday. Fernando Alonso and Ayrton Senna each once had a flag in their car!

One other thing that gets perpetually repeated is the public criticism of Renault, expressed by Red Bull. While you may say that it isn’t the nice thing to do, it is where things don’t add up for me.

I’ve been a freelance contractor for over ten years now, and one inevitable part of every contract I sign is a clause that lists the penalty payments and a provision to terminate the contract should one contract party do or say something that discredits the other.

How in the name of all that’s holy can the legal department of a global car manufacturer have failed to put such a clause in the supply contract of Red Bull? Or could it be, just maybe, that there is one and Renault merely didn’t enforce it, because

  1. The Renault claims are perfectly substantiated. Their claim always was that Renault wasn’t willing to invest what’s necessary to catch up. At least in that regard their claims were perfectly viable. Renault hasn’t spent a single token on any updates this year
  2. Perhaps, and I point out that it is pure speculation on my behalf, Renault found that criticism quite convenient. If they buy Lotus and continue as a works team, they would be locked in a contract that assured Red Bull works status. Now that’s rather inconvenient if you field your own team. On the other hand it also allows them to withdraw from F1 without breaking any contracts. Their last two customers have finally terminated the contract and Bernard E has no clause to force them with.

To me the question is, why has Renault put up with that public slating? Any competently drawn up contract would have seen Red Bull pay through the nose in blood for it. Yet, we’ve never heard anything about penalty payments. Could it be that Renault put up, perhaps even encouraged it, to get out of their obligations after failing badly at an engine formula they pushed for themselves? They clearly hadn’t calculated how much it would cost them to be competitive.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


One response to “Inconsistencies In The Facts Presented About Possible Red Bull Exit from F1

  1. BigFlatSpot

    October 15, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Haven’t they got form already, They did it with the last turbo era, they dropped out completely and returned after just a handful of years when the engine formula was changed back to N/A engines I think. So who knows, Renault may take a sabbatical, then, if the hybrid systems are simplified for 2017 (there has been mention of it) they will have had a year as a non-competitor, so will be free to re-enter F1 with totally new engine architecture and a full redesign of they wanted. There will always be struggling teams that can be bought with the right negotiations and a big enough bundle of cash, so if they don’t go ahead with Lotus for next season, (I’m sure Lopez won’t just let his investment go to the wall, so the team will still just be running on not quite enough to get the car around the track, but that’s a different thread completely) Renault can just pick up lotus or a different for ’17 should those engine tweeks become reality.
    It’s all very interesting, maybe RedBull could have handled stuff a little less ‘aggressively’, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. I’m not a massive RedBull supporter, (McLaren is my team since childhood in the 80’s) but I don’t want to lose either of the RB teams, I really enjoy the young drivers in the Toro Roso seats and I would like to see the main RB team competitive again, along with McLaren, Ferrari and Williams, all challenging Mercedes and each other, tooth and nail for the front end of the grid and all 3 steps on the podium.


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