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GP Week : Issue 230
The Red Bull engine saga continued in Russia, with serious question marks hanging over not only who will supply the former champs with engines, but if anyone will at all. Red Bull's quest for engines ramped up over the weekend in Sochi, with a series of high profile and very public meetings taking place within the paddock as Bernie Ecclestone met with stakeholders at Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull. On Friday, German publication Auto Motor und Sport reported that Ferrari had finally decided that it would supply engines, but only to Toro Rosso, leaving Red Bull in a precarious position. With the team's billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz apparently ready to pull the plug on his whole Formula 1 operation the development sparked frantic discussions. Mercedes has previously refused to supply Red Bull with engines, reasoning the well-oiled team could pose more than a few headaches for the factory squad on track if given its race winning engine. Over the Japanese GP weekend it was claimed Red Bull had never formally approached Mercedes for engines, but it's since become accepted fact that the ball was dropped in Stuttgart and not Milton Keynes. Then there's the track record the team now has of public mudslinging should things not go its way which will not endear it to any new partner, Ferrari, for example. All this leaves the team in a quandary. Ferrari and Mercedes both hold powerful negotiating positions while Red Bull's owner could simply pull out. There's even been talk of remaining with Renault, a notion that seemed unimaginable just a matter of days ago. There are other options too, with some suggestions that Christian Horner could lead a management buyout of the team - Red Bull purchased the Jaguar team for $1 - or that Renault could switch its efforts from Lotus to the team that started life as Stewart. For his part Bernie Ecclestone seems adamant it's a storm in a teacup, and that the whole situation has in fact been resolved. He even went so far as to say we'll have 22 cars on the grid next season, suggesting not only will both Red Bull teams survive but so too will Lotus. 8 GPWEEK.com // 8 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> news red bull plays russian roulette