Despite recent speculation linking Red Bull with a possible switch to Mercedes-Benz power for 2011, the team’s technical director Adrian Newey has admitted that the team will almost certainly continue with its customer use of Renault engines.
Despite its impressive competitiveness this season – particularly in qualifying, where it has secured 12 of the 14 possible pole positions in 2010 to-date – the Austrian team has howled about the power deficit that the Renault engine seems to suffer, which began amid the so-called ‘engine freeze’ that has seen Ferrari and Mercedes engines as the more powerful.
Speaking with Sport Bild, the highly-acclaimed designer has said that Red Bull will almost certainly stick with Renault power in 2011.
“Where shall we go?” he said. “McLaren has stopped us from getting the Mercedes engine.
“So there’s only Ferrari. But we ask ourselves: if we beat them, will we still have the same specification as the Ferrari team?” he asked.
While adding that Renault’s engine might be as much as 40bhp down on its rivals, he praised the professionalism of the engine builder, who has “always respond[ed] to our requests” and “very strongly adhered” to the spirit of the engine freeze.
“We now have a gap to Ferrari and Mercedes. And if Renault are not allowed to keep up, I can well imagine them withdrawing as an engine supplier,” he hinted darkly.
Red Bull certainly seemed to feel the effects of the disparity in engine power, with neither driver qualifying on the front row for the first time since last year’s Italian Grand Prix.