Infiniti Red Bull Racing announced Friday that it has an agreement with an engine supplier for next year. Speaking before the last race of the Formula One season this weekend in Abu Dhabi, team principal Christian Horner would not say who the supplier is nor how the engines will be branded. He did say the new power unit "will have a development path – ironically of what we were trying to achieve 12 months ago."
That comment has bolstered speculation that the team will continue with Renault power units, after Mercedes and Ferrari turned the team down over engine specification, and Honda was forced to say no because partner McLaren has veto power over its engine supply. Toward the end of last year, F1 engine expert Mario Illien began working with Renault and Red Bull to improve the power unit, but it didn't come to much and Red Bull complained that Renault wasn't heading in the right direction. The gossip is now that Red Bull will use unbranded Renault units being developed by Illien, taking a step toward being a full works outfit as was rumored last year.
Illien, however, said that he has no idea where such reports are coming from and he's had nothing to do with the Renault engine. Horner said the team hopes to confirm the deal - whatever it is - and announce it and its 2016 partners "within the coming days." At the same time, some are expecting Renault to announce its formal takeover of the Lotus team, with one report saying Carlos Ghosn has given the all-clear. Even if Renault does take over Lotus, that isn't expected to interfere with its engine supply to Red Bull.