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Red Bull extends 2016 engine deadline

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Dietrich Mateschitz has extended Red Bull's 2016 engine deadline for "two or three weeks" but accepted the team is unlikely to secure a competitive power unit.

Red Bull's future beyond this current season remains uncertain, with no power unit for 2016 after terminating its Renault deal a year early and with Mercedes and Ferrari refusing to supply the Milton Keynes team. Red Bull originally said an engine decision had to be made by the end of October before it decided whether or not to follow through with its numerous threats to quit, but Mateshitz has extended this now the original deadline has passed.

"We have had to extend our deadline for two or three weeks," he told the Red Bull-owned Speedweek."We cannot get access to a competitive engine anyhow. But it would be the first time we wouldn't have alternative ideas."

That would push the decision back to the weekend of November 21-22, a week before the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The speculation Red Bull could return to Renault power in 2016 has prompted suggestions the French manufacturer could buy the team, rather than pursue its current takeover with Lotus. However, Mateschitz says that scenario is "totally unthinkable".

Bizarrely, the same Speedweek article appears to slate Renault and Honda, the only viable options left for Red Bull. First it says the cancellation of its current contract was due to "hopelessness" on the part of Renault, which has struggled with an uncompetitive and unreliable power unit in 2015.

Christian Horner has recently said Honda is "very keen" for a supply deal with Red Bull, though McLaren CEO Ron Dennis is vetoing such a partnership. However, Speedweek states there is "no chance" of this deal going ahead, suggesting the team would come off worse than it has this year with Renault power.

The publication cites the 11 internal combustion engines used by Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button this season (by contrast, Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo have used seven and eight respectively), with only four allowed in the regulations before incurring penalties.