ALFA ENGINES: Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne was keen on supplying F1 team Toro Rosso with Alfa Romeo branded engines . Image: AFP / Jewel Samad
Milan, Italy - Fiat Chrysler president Sergio Marchionne wanted Toro Rosso to be powered by Alfa Romeo-branded engines in 2016.
That is the claim of Germany's Auto Bild Motorsport, in the wake of the so-called 'Red Bull engine crisis' that almost silenced the energy drink brand in F1.
Ultimately for 2016, Renault agreed to de-brand its power units for the premier Red Bull team, while Faenza based Toro Rosso secured a supply of year-old Ferrari engines.
'Failed because of money'
Auto Bild claims that Marchionne, who doubles as the Ferrari president, offered a solution in the form of an Alfa Romeo deal for Toro Rosso.
"It failed because of the money," a Red Bull source said, reportedly referring to a figure around €30-million.
"Marchionne wanted Toro Rosso or Red Bull to provide the initial development costs of the new engine."
Red Bull reportedly turned down the deal, deciding instead that the plan-B of a 2015-specification Ferrari supply was good enough for the junior team.
Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost: "It is a step forward for us."
According to Max Verstappen, the step will be a big one, in the order of between eight tenths and a full second per lap.
"The problem," the Dutch driver explained to Ziggo Sport, "is that we have a 2015 engine and most teams have a 2016 spec, so they will make steps as they go.
"But it looks positive for us anyway - I think we are going to make a bigger step than most teams," Verstappen predicted.