It was believed news of a new deal with Renault – perhaps involving Infiniti, Nissan or blank branding – would be made at Yas Marina, probably coinciding with confirmation of the French carmaker’s buyout of Lotus.
But it seems the news may now have been delayed because of last week’s meetings in Paris, where the so-called ‘client engine’ for 2017 was shelved.
It was said the Red Bull-Renault deal for 2016 was simply a stop-gap in preparation for 2017, which means team owner Dietrich Mateschitz is now unsure what is going to happen.
“It is a question I cannot answer definitely,” the Austrian billionaire declared on Tuesday.
So in Abu Dhabi, team driver Daniel Ricciardo agrees that Red Bull’s engine news is once again on the back burner.
“It’s taking longer than we thought,” he said. “Hopefully soon, but I don’t know.”
The Australian, however, seems resigned to the fact that Red Bull will have to keep working with a Renault-based option of some sort.
“Pretty much everyone has turned us down,” said Ricciardo.
Last time out in Brazil, the 26-year-old tried Renault’s upgraded engine, but it has been removed from his car for Abu Dhabi due to a lack of performance.
“It is definitely obvious that they have some work ahead of them,” Ricciardo said. “Whether they try to refine it or start something completely different, I have no idea.”