Ferrari has reopened negotiations with Red Bull about supplying its rival with engines for the 2016 season, offering the Milton Keynes team a potential last-minute lifeline.
Whilst it’s believed Red Bull is forging its own path with a co-developed Renault-Illien power unit, if that fails to materialise – as it currently awaits Renault’s sign-off – Red Bull at least have a fallback option available.
Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne made it clear that they would be willing to supply engines on a similar basis to what has been agreed – but not announced – with Toro Rosso, whereby the team has access to year old power units.
However he hinted at the possibility of allowing Red Bull to help develop those engines as part of a “separate project”.
“The possibility of collaborating with Red Bull regarding the development of the power unit is still a valid option, I continue to re-affirm that,” Marchionne is quoted by Italian media whilst speaking at Ferrari’s Finali Mondiali in Mugello.
“But it will not be in the context of Ferrari providing Red Bull with an equivalent engine to the one used by Ferrari in the races.
“The company is available to provide engineering and production services for an engine in a separate project for Red Bull, where Ferrari can commit to provide all its best in terms of engineering and give the chance to Red Bull and other manufacturers to have these engines.
“But they cannot be the same Ferrari engines that race on our cars.”
Marchionne confirmed he had communicated this directly to team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, though it’s not known how the billionaire might react, having previously rejected a similar deal which failed to give his team identical equipment.