Dietrich Mateschitz has confirmed that his end-of-October deadline for a resolution of Red Bull’s engine crisis has been extended.
The deadline came and went during the Mexican grand prix weekend, as frenzied negotiations with Honda appeared to hit a wall. Team boss Christian Horner admitted he has had some talks with Honda as well as Ron Dennis, but the McLaren team boss seems determined to veto any deal. “Honda are very keen,” he said, “but unfortunately, they have a contractual status that is between them and McLaren that’s nothing to do with us.”
FIA president Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone are now involved in resolving the crisis, and so Red Bull magnate Mateschitz has confirmed he is willing to wait a little longer.
“We have extended the time again for two or three weeks,” he confirmed to Speed Week, a Red Bull-linked German language publication. The Austrian billionaire acknowledged, however, that Red Bull’s earlier plans for a fully “competitive engine” for 2016 are likely to come to nothing. “The factory teams fear and know that we would be faster than them. Everyone sees that,” said Mateschitz.
And so the search for a power unit of any description is still on. “Without an engine we will go. This is not a soapbox derby,” Mateschitz said. There are reports that the relationship with Renault could be patched up, or that Red Bull could perhaps run an unbranded turbo V6 supplied by the French marque.
On the topic of Renault, Mateschitz was clear: “We have cancelled the contract.” He also described another rumour – that Renault might abandon its plans to buy Lotus and instead buy Red Bull – as “unthinkable”.