Up in smoke, that’s where my money goes — or so said Red Bull Formula One team principal Christian Horner to NBCSN about Volkswagen’s plans to buy the Red Bull F1 team. Volkswagen faces a possible $18 billion fine for the dieselgate scandal, wherein a system was installed on its diesel road cars to cheat emissions tests.
While the Volkswagen Group’s purchase of Red Bull seemed like a done deal last Friday, that was before the, ahem, labrador (maaaan) hit the fan. Red Bull is now stuck in the unenviable situation of having no deal with a power unit supplier for next year as well as having their long-term partnership with VW completely disintegrate over the course of a week.
“Of course it’s not an ideal situation,” Horner told NBCSN. “I’m working hard to try and find a solution, and hopefully there will be a solution in the coming weeks but it’s quite simple. If we don’t get an engine, we can’t push the car.”
Red Bull is officially back in panic mode. If they don’t get a reliable power unit from Ferrari, they’ve threatened to quit. A deal with Ferrari was originally intended to hold them over until the Volkswagen Group could jump in with its own power unit in 2018, however, all bets are off now as to when VW could actually afford getting into the notoriously expensive sport.
When NBCSN asked if they could assume that Volkswagen wouldn’t be providing Red Bull with an engine, Horner replied, “That seemed to go up in smoke.”
The real tragedy of this falling through is that even now more than ever, Red Bull and Volkswagen seem made for each other. If there’s two entities known for skirting the rules and/or exploiting the bleeding edge of what’s allowed, it’s these two.