Red Bull, Force India, to swap engines for 2011? UPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' Force India will continue to use Mercedes engines next season despite rumors claiming they may lose their supply to Red Bull.
Red Bull Racing are currently powered by Renault, however, the team's bosses have made remarks suggesting they may want to swap to Mercedes, who reportedly have the most powerful engine in the field.
Mercedes, though, already power their own F1 team, McLaren and Force India, prompting their bosses to insist that the German car manufacturer has enough customers on the books.
This led to rumors that Force India could be dropped by Mercedes in order to make space for the German company to supply Red Bull Racing.
However, Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has been quick to deny these claims.
"Mr. Mallya (Force India's owner) is exemplary with the payment of his bills," Haug told Auto Motor und Sport. "We have no plans to change our customers." 08/27/10 (GMM) Mercedes' Norbert Haug and Force India on Friday played down reports about movement in the customer engine market for 2011.
Citing unnamed sources, a report in the Bayern newspaper TZ said Red Bull could be powered by Mercedes next year, with Force India switching to Renault.
Force India denied the story, insisting it has a valid contract with Mercedes until the end of 2012.
Also contrary to the report, the Silverstone based team said its payments to Mercedes are up to date "and always will be".
Mercedes also responded to the report, with motor sport vice president Haug insisting the marque is also contractually bound.
"We would have worked with Red Bull already this year," he told German television Sky.
"However, we have an exclusive contract with McLaren. Understandably, McLaren has put in the veto," explained Haug.
"We have to respect contracts, of course. That is the situation.
"I would be very happy to see Mark Webber, who was formerly with us (Mercedes), and of course Sebastian Vettel, drive with our engines.
"But at the moment that is not the case," said Haug.08/27/10 (GMM) Red Bull is reportedly closing on a deal to be equipped with Mercedes engines for the 2011 season.
The German newspaper TZ reports that the move would involve the currently Mercedes-powered Force India team switching to Red Bull's current engine supplier Renault.
Red Bull has been pushing for a Mercedes deal for some time, or minimally an allowance amid the engine development 'freeze' to bring the underpowered Renault V8 up to speed.
The report said Mercedes may be amenable to ending its relationship with Force India due to the Silverstone based team missing scheduled payments.
It is said that F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is involved in the negotiations, as McLaren remains in a position to veto Mercedes' alliances with customer teams.
Championship leader Mark Webber said on Thursday that the weakness of Red Bull's otherwise dominant RB6 is its engine power.
"We know that running on long straights is not a strength of the car and hasn't been for quite a few years and we know why," said the Australian.
"We can still keep up at these tracks, but I think if we had to have 17 races in a championship, we wouldn't choose Spa and Monza to have races at," added Webber.