Still amid the Red Bull triple championship winning era, the so-called ‘works’ teams are looking ahead with great eagerness to the 2014 season which could see the energy drinks squad compromised and allow their rivals to end the years of dominance by the dark blue cars.
Red Bull has mastered the current era of aerodynamics-dominated regulations, where the normally-aspirated V8 engines have been ‘frozen’ for many years.
That is all about to change. From next year, the cars will be powered by all-new turbo V6s integrated with sophisticated energy recovery or ‘ERS’ systems.
“It is a great opportunity for teams like Ferrari and Mercedes to integrate the work of the engine and chassis sides,” Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn is quoted by Spain’s El Confidencial.
Indeed, the German marque is already hard at work on 2014, with some saying that could explain Lewis Hamilton’s willingness to jump ship from McLaren, the former Mercedes ‘works’ team.
Also without obvious ‘works’ status is Red Bull, even though the energy drink-owned outfit has strengthened its ties with engine supplier Renault and now has title sponsorship courtesy of the Renault-aligned Nissan brand, Infiniti.
Actually, Red Bull and Renault are tied together contractually well into the V6 era, and according to a 2011 statement will together “develop innovative technical solutions” for the new engine era.
And team boss Christian Horner insists that Red Bull is indeed the “premier, factory team of Renault Sport”.
Ferrari is also working vigorously on the 2014 project, confirming recently that its ultra-successful former designer Rory Byrne is now back on board as he steps up his role as a consultant.
The South African told a German journalist recently he is “working full steam” on Ferrari’s 2014 car, as it emerges he has beaten his battle with prostate cancer.
Byrne, 69, was diagnosed three years ago.
He told the Times Live publication: “I had an MRI scan in December and I am cancer free.”