The Renault and Infiniti logos on Red Bull F1 cars could soon be replaced with Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin branding, if new reports out of the UK are to be believed.
Red Bull has proven a powerful championship-winning force in recent years, but the French carmaker’s engines have lately struggled to match the pace of Mercedes-AMG, which currently leads the driver and constructor points boards.
It is perhaps no surprise that Andy Palmer – a former senior executive with Nissan and now the head of Aston Martin – is reported to be behind the push to attract Red Bull to Mercedes, whose parent Daimler owns a five percent share in the British supercar brand.
Palmer was likewise behind the move to have Infiniti come on board with Red Bull F1 as a ‘technical partner’, which gave the Nissan luxury offshoot a key branding position on the team’s race cars.
Red Bull is contracted to run Renault engines until the end of 2016, which means that its relationship with Infiniti will likely also last at least that long.
Beyond that date, Red Bull could switch allegiances in a Palmer-led deal that would this time see Mercedes announced as official engine supplier and Aston Martin listed as a technical partner.
For Aston, the potential tie-in would represent the brand’s first appearance in F1 since its largely unsuccessful campaign in 1959 and 1960.
For now, however, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has denounced the talk of a partnership with Mercedes and Aston Martin as pure speculation.
“We have a contract and commitment with Infiniti, a very good relationship with Infiniti, and anything beyond the end of 2016 is purely speculative.”
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff was less dismissive, however, telling the UK’s Autocar on the weekend that while there are no discussions right now, “I’m leaving the door open”.
He added that although Red Bull has previously been seen as the Mercedes team’s “number one enemy”, it may soon be time to “recalibrate who our number one enemy is tomorrow and next year”.
With Mercedes currently enjoying a strong lead in the 2015 F1 championship on 371 points, and the Renault-powered Red Bull outfit well behind in 4th with 63 points, that “number one enemy” status has likely already been revoked.