Red Bull has played down reports Renault is set to buy Toro Rosso — and leave the former world champions without an engine deal.
Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost said in Australia it would be “fantastic” if the French carmaker bought the Faenza based team, which is currently owned and controlled by Red Bull.
“It sounds like Franz wants to sell his team to (Renault’s) Cyril (Abiteboul) and then we’d need an engine,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said last Friday.
Red Bull’s relationship with Renault is obviously strained, but if the French marque did buy Toro Rosso, and complete its divorce with Red Bull, it might leave the energy drink company’s premier team in a tight situation.
“Mercedes would refuse to supply Red Bull with an engine,” said Horner, “it’s unlikely that we would be in a position to take a Ferrari engine, so we could find ourselves actually forced out of the sport”.
So Dr Helmut Marko, the right hand man of Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz, said the more likely situation is that Red Bull will keep control of Toro Rosso.
He said one option is to sell Toro Rosso to Renault, but the “more likely” scenario is that the junior Red Bull team simply takes on a “yellow livery to have a better marketing platform” for Renault.
“But of course the figures have to correspond,” Marko told F1’s official website on Thursday.
In that way, Red Bull and Toro Rosso would maintain their close links, and presumably continue to share an engine.
“Such a scenario would only take off if the close relationship between Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso stays intact, within the rules,” said Marko.
“Red Bull Racing’s headcount is much higher, the equipment of the team is more sophisticated — so without the know-how of Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso would be hurt in its competitiveness,” he added. (GMM)