Red Bull F1 owner lashes out


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Red Bull owner Dieter Mateschitz has again broken his silence on the current malaise of his Red Bull racing outfit.

Ahead of this weekend’s Austrian GP at the Red Bull owned circuit, Mateschitz spoke to Speedweek about their engine supplier. “They take from us not only time and money, but also the will and motivation. There is no driver and no chassis which is able to compensate for this lack of horsepower.”

“We are still hoping [Renault will get better],” Mateschitz wryly added, “Hope dies last.”

Dietrich is not content to lay the blame for his angst at Renault’s door, but reveals his frustration at the direction Formula One is taking as a whole.

“The regulations for aerodynamics are so strict that our designer Adrian Newey cannot use his full talent. And we have also used four engines [on both cars] already. So we will be losing grid positions.

“What else has to happen that we will lose our motivation completely?”

There have been a number of reports that Red Bull are looking to Ferrari for engine supply when their current contract with Renault expires at the end of 2016. The billionaire drinks company owner interestingly denies a proposition that has not been put out.

“There is absolutely nothing in those [rumours], For 2016 we have no alternative to Renault”.

As TJ13 observed when breaking the story of the Ferrari/Red Bull talks about engine supply, Mateschitz realizes this would merely be a stop-gap solution.

“You can only get an engine which is good enough to take points from direct rivals, but will never be good enough to beat the factory team, which supplies you these engines.

“With a customer engine you will never win the world championship again. 

“And also when we see that we don’t have any chance to win the championship because of the restrictions on aerodynamics as well… then we just lose the desire. We are bad at being the support actors.”

Christian Horner pointed out last year that one reason the likes of Red Bull have a seat on the F1 commission is due to their long term contractual commitments to Formula One until 2020.

Yet Mateschitz may well have been talking to Monsiha Kaltenborn, given his next assertion. “How many teams went out [of F1] despite the fact they had contracts You can’t force one to stay, when they want to leave. I cannot predict now what will happen it two or three years, who will go out of Formula 1 or will come in. I don’t know if we will have our teams still. In F1, it’s better not to make any predictions.”

Of course in recent times teams that have left the sport did so due to a lack of finance and it is pointless for FOM to sue a bankrupt company.

Red Bull are clearly not in the same position, they are just being humiliated by the competition and are clearly very unhappy about it.

Reading between the lines, there is little hope of Red Bull or Toro Rosso doing a deal to sell to a new owner. Clearly Audi or Porsche or BMW or anyone is not forthcoming at present with any genuine interest.

Further, the FIA process to accept new team applications to compete in the sport is not helping.

Why pay $300 million for Toro Rosso and $5-600 million for Red Bull merely to inherit a cost base in excess of $150m a year, when you can do what Gene Haas is doing?

For a man who usually keeps his own counsel whatever the circumstances, this is a remarkable outburst and demonstrates the black hole the Red Bull F1 racing family find themsleves within at present.

15 responses to “Red Bull F1 owner lashes out

  1. i support everything DM has said. renault should be castigated for the useless engine it has produced. despite renault’s historical significance how they ever came to this predicament is beyond most people, even red bull who are a ‘quasi’ works team although renault refer to them as customers!!!

    • Hmm… Castigation. Is that like masturbation… feels good but one is still alone? 😉

      If Renault’s board refuses to throw great quantities of money down the black hole of F1’s new engine formula at the same rate that the boards of Ferrari and Mercedes have chosen, can we claim we didn’t know? It’s known that Renault fights this battle with less budget than their primary rivals.

      But back to topic, the good news here is that the fizzy drinks company is clearly considering their departure from F1.

      As another Austrian once said, “Hasta la vista, baby!”

      Why is it good for fizzy drinks to leave?

      There are two primary problems with F1, and one of them is the cartel of Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, and Mercedes. The cartel is very likely to be broken up sooner or later, for various reasons. But for it to start falling apart so soon is very good news for everyone concerned about the future of F1. Red Bull departing may weaken the cartel, and move F1 beyond this period sooner rather than later.

  2. I find it impossible to feel the slightest sympathy for a multi-billionaire complaining that the world isn’t fair. If he had the slightest interest in F1 as a sport and not an advertising platform, he’d know that no team has ever stayed at the top for a long period. He’d also know that the *formula* is frequently changed to enable other teams to get to the top. In fact, his team has benefitted from equalisation in the past, when Renault were allowed to improve their engine, whilst the other engine manufacturers had to stick with what they had.
    I believe Dieter Mateschitz also owns some football teams. I’ve no idea how successful they are, but will he expect the rules of football to be changed when they stop winning?
    The man is a greedy fool. He’s got enough money to bin F1 and not worry about the loss. I’ll happily pay him a few quid for his failing teams. I promise not to complain if they continue to finish out of the points.

    • Well, it’ll be a mistake as well if he walks just like that out of F1 (although I won’t mis them). Red Bull have football teams, hockey teams, they had a team in NASCAR and they now have one at V8 supercars. The NASCAR experiment failed. From the football teams (in Austria, Germany, Brazil, etc), only Salzburg dominates, and from the hockey teams (in Austria and Germany) EC doninates too, both in Austria though. How many watch Austrian football or hockey?

      The F1 team has been the most successful enterprise and the best asset in terms of marketing. Not sure he’ll be able to replace that any time soon.

  3. It is just not Red Bull that finds itself wedged into a black hole at present, but it is the entire F1 set up. For a sport that was suffering under the strain of ever increasing costs, the new engines have proven to have been the final financial straw. When added to the ridiculous fees charged by FOM to host an event, which in turn leads to more races moving to unattractive and isolated venues that simply don’t make sense, rit inevitably results in the fans losing interest. Crowd attendances are down, and viewer numbers are also down because there is no atmosphere or sense of association with watching.
    The FIA would seem to be a dictatorial organisation not unlike FIFA, and should definitely be stripped of setting the rules of the formula. It is completely out of touch.

  4. You know, from some point of view it might look like Red Bull are sore losers, after their second disaster year in a row. Especially looking at people like Helmut Marko, one could very well get that idea. But those critics also forget quite often, that Red Bull has spent five years with three different engine manufacturers in an effort to improve upon an existing team, before it finally managed to win a championship.

    Back then nobody even dared to speculate that Red Bull would leave the sport, because everybody still had a goal to meet. But now? They’ve shown in the past decade what they could do, dominating everything in the process. I don’t even think that leaving the sport after their lack of recent success is a bad thing, because in Renault they have the perfect scape-goat waiting to be sacrificed.

    Thinking about that, the long-term contracts to stay in Formula 1 can only be with the entrant, the British registered Red Bull Racing Limited, which was previously known as Jaguar Racing Limited and before that Stewart Grand Prix Limited. While that company is now a full subsidiary of Red Bull GmbH of Austria, it doesn’t have to stay that way. If Mateschitz would choose to abandon his Formula 1 involvement, he’d only need to sell that subsidiary and he and his company would immediately be free from any further obligations. It wouldn’t surprise anyone, if the new owner of the team could then not afford to keep the team afloat due to lack of cash injections or other income from the Red Bull technology sector (if there even are any of those). That would certainly be a cut-throat way of dealing with the issue and not at all in Mateschitz’ style, but it would be solved neatly.

    • I believe, although am happy to be proven wrong, that contracts are with the parent companies – I think to precisely avoid the scenario you mention.

      Other than that (which might be wrong) I agree with your post!

    • Not Mateschitz’s style? Do tell us what his “style” is? There are scores of X-Sport event directors, stores, equipment companies, and athletes who have a distinct bad taste in their mouths from being left out on the tiles by broken RB commitments (though, unless you know people in the industry, you’ll be hard-pressed to get a large group to speak publicly because they fear repercussions from RB down the road),

    • But there are few if any buyers. The FIA continues to offer access to F1 for start up operations – why pay $500m for RBR – and acquire responsibility for their cost base of over 1,000 employees?

      Even Newey has gone

      • …so true, Judge. And Mateschitz would make that sale in a heart beat if any fool wants to a taker – he’d be an equal fool not to.

    • @Dan82

      after their second disaster year in a row

      What disaster? Last year they were firmly in 2nd in the WCC for all year long, and have scored the only 3 non-Merc wins that year. I guess this counts as a “disaster” only when you’re part of a blindfolded folk called the Styrian Spice Whiners, which Mateschitz is proudly part of…

  5. To me, from a business perspective, DM is trying to talk Renault out of the sport at the end of this year. Slam them into the ground at every opportunity and force an unworkable relationship forcing the Renault board to act: Buy RBR or get out at the end of this season so the FIA and other manufacturers are forced into leasing Mercedes, Ferrari or Honda engines to RBR and TSR.

    He has to force them out ASAP, so the designs can still be adjusted for another engine for 2016. That’s what this is all about. And if it is not succesful and he cannot get better engines, it is indeed better to sell the team to someone who is ready to finish outside of the top 10.

    After two years without a chance to win, while you invest to win and attract all the right people to win, you have to eliminate your weak points. It is like football clubs firing an underperforming coach. Thanks for last year’s title and champions league cup, but this year you are shit and it doesn’t look like you are improving. Bye bye! (And how many worldchampions has Frank Williams ditched?) Professional sport is a hard world. Renault should not expect anything from the past. For professional sport teams and athletes there is only one goal and that is to win the next game and championship. To reach that, you have to be hard as a nail.

    • You can just as easily argue that Red Bull is the weak point though. Newey created a design with a lack of cooling and RB pushed Renault into using untested engines. The fact that Torro Rosso regularly outperformed RB is telling.

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