There are four engine manufacturers in Formula 1: Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Renault. Infiniti Red Bull Racing ended its marriage to Renault, got to the altar with Mercedes and then Mercedes backed out, couldn’t even agree on a pre-nup with Ferrari, and Honda flat-out said, “No.” At the moment that has left the four-time World Champions without an engine for next year, owner Dieter Mateschitz threatening to take his two teams and four cars out of the sport, and F1 honcho Bernie Ecclestone threatening to sue Mateschitz if he does.
The Japanese company had turned down the idea because after a first year with some poor performances and a few public sour notes, it wants to get McLaren’s cars running properly before it expands its operation. Now it seems some behind-the-scenes action of late has opened up channels between Red Bull and Honda, and the two are at least talking. Honda, though, still says such a deal is highly unlikely at best, and Red Bull says it will have something to say when something is done.
It appears that McLaren chief Ron Dennis, however, has vetoed the idea. Ecclestone says Honda made a deal with the FIA that would allow Honda to supply two teams in its second year, but Honda gave Dennis veto rights over who the second team would be. For the same reason that Mercedes backed out and Ferrari only wanted to sell Red Bull year-old engines, Ecclestone says Dennis might view Red Bull as a competitor and doesn’t want to risk two more cars getting in front of his own. If that’s the case and Red Bull is going to remain in the sport, it might need to hit the flower shop and book a trip to Renault headquarters. Soon.