Red Bull withdrawal from F1 moves closer

horner depressed

Maybe those who have been fans of Formula One for many years can gain comfort that the sport is in the frequent chaos, which it finds itself in more often than not.

Currently, F1 is set to lose four cars from the grid in 2016 as Red Bull’s plight – of cars without power units drags on and on.

Christian Horner stated at the weekend, that both Red Bull teams could find themselves without a power unit unless Ferrari promise to supply them with one that is on parity with the one Maranello chooses to place in its own cars.

Of course Red Bull always had the option of mending fences with Renault, and in fact in March this year the big boss of the fizzy drinks company said, “there is no alternative to Renault in 2016″.

Yet with a Tourette’s like compulsion, the Red Bull senior management has consistently and publicly abused their French F1 power unit partner. The result, the decision over continuing a relationship with Renault has been taken out of Red Bull’s hands.

Rneault-Nissan’s top boss, Carlos Ghosn’s, made it crystal clear last week that Renault would not be criticised any more and was withdrawing its supply of customer engines. So that particular power train option for Mateschitz et al looks to have finally left the station.

Speedweek, the mouthpiece of Red Bull, are reporting today, “all indications suggest: Red Bull will withdraw both teams from Formula 1 at the end of the year – because a competitive winning engine is not on the horizon”.

Mateschitz is quoted as repeating the Ron Dennis line about not being unable to win world championships unless they have a ‘factory’ power unit supply. “As a customer team you will only get an engine that is good enough to take away points from their immediate rivals. But this engine will never be good enough to beat the works team.

“With such a customer engine we will never be world champion again. And if that’s the case we lose interest.”says the Austrian billionaire.

However, Red Bull did have such a relationship with Renault, who has been the most successful F1 engine manufacturers in the modern era of Formula One. Yet after two lean years with an under powered engine, the Austrian outfit has no more patience and expects to be back at the top of the sport.

In reality, despite the hundreds of millions invested, Red Bull Racing are another independent Formula One racing team. Like McLaren, like Williams and all the other iterations of teams who have competed for decades in F1.

In their time both McLaren and Williams have dominated F1, and both have had far longer subsequent periods of time in the wilderness than Red Bull Racing. Neither of these historic F1 teams have won a constructors title since the turn of the millennium. Yet the lack of a ‘factory’ competitive engine has never resulted in either of these teams threatening to quit the sport, and they both have had to suffer the pain of not winning for year after year.

Red Bull’s hope that some brand of the VW group will ride to the rescue in 2017/18 also appears somewhat of a naïve attitude, given the complexity and development time required for F1’s new power units. This has dramatically demonstrated in the trials and tribulations faced by Honda on their return to Formula One.

Why would say Audi join F1 in 2018, when the next potential big change in engine regulations looms in 2020?

The bottom line is that F1 changes the rules every few years to stop the domination of the sport by one team, and whether it had been the new V6 power units or some other trickery from the FIA, Red Bull would never be allowed to keep on dominating the sport.

The Red Bull F1 family is in actuality faced with Hobson’s choice. Take a Ferrari engine or quit F1.

Christian Horner believes the current state of F1 where just two engine manufacturers have competative offerings is damaging. “It’s important for Formula 1 to have competitive engine manufacturers because what we’re rapidly descending upon is two dominant engine suppliers and that ultimately isn’t healthy for F1,” he said.

“With the V8 you had three or four competitive engines that were capable of winning.

“Now you’ve only got two engines that are capable of winning races on merit, and that’s not particularly healthy.”

So for many fans of Formula One, Red Bull’s consistent and repeated complaints about their current plight in the media, appear pointless and not obscure to anyone. Whether these repeated statements of the obvious – are designed to force the powers that be to get guarantees from Ferrari that they will have the exact version of power unit the Red Team put in their own cars – is anyone’s guess.

But Red Bull is where it is today because of choices they made – and in F1 there are no quick solutions for their problem.

53 responses to “Red Bull withdrawal from F1 moves closer

  1. There is another option – Renault could sell their whole F1 engine operation lock stock & barrel to Red Bull, and Mr Mateschitz could then put pressure on Bernie to let Red Bull develop the engine outside of the “token” system.

    • I share your opinion. RB have the economical and human resources to develop their own engine. They have two teams to develop it and they could sell it to other teams. I think beyond this media non-sense from Red Bull this year as this article says, there must be something else behind scene to push Ferrari, Mercedes or Renault to align their interest with their own.

    • Ferrari and Honda are already lobbying for an engine unfreeze and this time Mercedes seems to be willing to agree, so together with the cost cap for engines for next year, this may be going to happen anyway.

  2. Red Bull is in the mess and it is their own doing. They were getting free engines and money from Infiniti. No way Ferrari is going to play clean and give them the same engine. With the underpower Renault they were second in Singapore behind Ferrari. No way Audi will get in F1 in 2018 with new rules in 2020. No way VW/Audi/Porsche etc are going to get into F1 after the problem they have with their diesel engine in the US. They should have keep their mouth close and by time.

  3. It’s only a net loss of 2 cars with Haas coming in and if Manor get the leg up that is being suggested from Mercedes and Williams then we could have the same amount of competitive cars on the grid as this year. I am not sure I’d miss Red Bull, they seemed to steam in on a wave of fun and games and will end up leaving like spoilt kids taking their ball home. Ricciardo I will miss, but the team itself, as sorry as I will be for the hundreds of staff there, can leave without anyone notice in all probability.

  4. Tired of this rhetoric now, they need to just come out and say it, “we’re pulling out of F1.”

    Their current tactic is simple, hold both Ferrari and the sport to ransom, give us what we want or we will pull the trigger. Both Ferrari and the FIA/FOM should say in reply, “we don’t negotiate with terrorists, now piss off!”

  5. –Yet with a turrets syndrome like compulsion

    I think you meant Tourette’s syndrome. Though possibly Munchausen’s Syndrome might be closer – “a mental illness, in which a person repeatedly acts as if he or she has a physical, emotional or cognitive disorder when, in truth, he or she has caused the symptoms.”

    They are, as others have said, the author of their own problems here. And as wise words have it, you shouldn’t kick those under you when you’re on top because someday you’ll be the one underneath and those same people will then get the chance to decide whether they want to kick you or not. And someone who crowed about other teams needing to work to catch Red Bull up instead of whining, really shouldn’t whine so much when the boot is on the other foot…

  6. Yet they had to have renault in the torro Rosso cars, after years of ferrari. They digged their own hole. Mainly on the red bull level, torro Rosso is just a victim of them too

  7. For such a clever team they need to brush up on their people skills. I think they need to read ‘How to win friends and influence people’.
    Threatening to quit unless they get the same Ferrari engine as Ferrari. Why the hell would Ferrari do that? What have they got to gain? It’s not like they need the money. Ferrari will be willing to supply them with a factory spec engine with some lower parameter values in the ecu, same as they and Merc do to the non factory teams.
    With the way they have behaved with Renault ringing in everyone’s ears there is little change of them getting anyone to work with them.
    Mind you it does seem like they have some hold over Bernie, so maybe he will financially persuade Ferrari to supply Red Bull & co with an engine.

    • Come now; that book is 70+ years old! What could a modern day person learn from that?
      I mean, besides what he really needs to know. (I see there’s an update for “the digital age”.)

  8. You have to love the nouveau riche. Short memories… At one time, virtually every team on the grid, save Ferrari, ran Cosworth DFVs.

    • dude that is what we need. Ford or someone to step in, back a quality engine outfit like Mechachrome or Cosworth (again) or someone to build the “DFV” of the V6-hybrid turbo era. Sell to all the teams, shotgun approach, support as many teams as possible, therefore you’re bound to get podiums.

      The DFV was the best racing engine EVER relative to its contemporaries. Even the later turbo versions weren’t too shabby.

  9. As a fan I would be happy to never have to read about Helmut Marko barking up the wrong tree again. Or having to hear Horner complain about the rules not being right because it doesn’t support his teams view on what F1 should be or his complaints about how the tires should behave. But I’m also wary of the possible consequences for F1 as a whole. If 2 teams leave how will it affect the other teams? Will it affect other sponsors? Will it affect the price tracks are willing to pay? Let’s hope it will not hurt F1 too much (or hope that it affects F1 so much that F1 collapses and CVC are forced to sell F1’s controlling stakes).

  10. Pingback: F1 2015 - Page 18·

  11. Horner and Red Bull – Good bye and Good riddance.

    In doing so, they may just do another favour to F1 – get CVC, FOM and FIA to come to their senses and save the sport.

  12. It’s Minardi I feel sorry for. It would be truly tragic if they went down with the mothership. There are precious few F1 teams based outside the UK.
    I have a little more faith that someone will snap up the Red Bull staff and factory. Maybe the pendulum could swing in the opposite direction if Coca-Cola bought it and branded it Innocent (smoothies) so as to wash away the nasty aftertaste of that chemical energy drink!

    • As if only a UK based team can be precious.
      What needs to be truly scrubbed away is their super arrogance which knows no bonds.

  13. RBR have switched on their super arrogance once more now that they have seen their VW/Audi dream go with the wind, they are now holding a gun to FERRARI and F1 head. to hell with all the money they pumped into F1, RBR amounts to 75% of F1 problems, always did, most probably F1 will be better off without them/

  14. Whilst RBR’s predicament may well be of their own doing Renault is hardly an innocent party in all this. Renault were push push push to get the engine rules changed & then went on to drop the ball. They had ample time to address some of their issues but didn’t, no doubt internally it was well discussed with RBR, but still Renault dropped the ball. RBR even went as far as bringing Ilmor in to try & help Renault. No tokens spent this season? Whilst logic would suggest the rationale for not spending the tokens earlier this season is that Renault are doting their i’s & crossing their t’s to make sure the component’s that are frozen at the end of the year are spot on would RBR not know this and factor in the strategic sensibility for going about it this way? I find it somewhat hard to believe that RBR would be so silly as to put themselves in this situation if they knew that the possibility of the Renaults deficiencies continuing where high. My guess is that they know that this is not the case & are subsequently likely looking at another year in the wilderness by baking the same recipe again. You can’t blame them for trying & using every resource at their disposal to try and change that recipe, anything less than using every tool at your disposal would be corporate negligence in this day & age.

  15. Christian Horner is spot on when he says that Formula 1 is rapidly becoming a two manufacturer sport and that’s not good.

    At the root of Red Bull’s problems with Renault are the fact that they are one of the manufacturers who wanted these new power units.

    They are the power unit supplier to the team that, at the time, had the 4 times champion in Sebastian Vettel and they were asleep at the switch. Really? It seems like Renault is running in place with these power units.

    I have thought for awhile now that Renault’s work ethic and expectations and Red Bull’s work ethic and expectations are not a good match.

    Renault didn’t use any of their tokens because they probably had an idea that even if they used them it wouldn’t have done much good. Also, not using any tokens is a way to screw over Red Bull for complaining publicly about the Renault power units.

    I think that Dietrich M. will end up having the last laugh. Maybe not now but at some point. If Red Bull pulls out completely and doesn’t do any sponsorship or trackside signage, etc., Formula 1 will miss Red Bull’s money and the exposure with Red Bull’s typical demographic which will hurt the sport in the long term.

    I think if Red Bull pulls out completely, Christian Horner might end up at McLaren (Boullier has never been a good fit as team principal) or taking Bernie’s place when the time comes.

    Who knows, maybe Dietrich M. is thinking about taking over Formula 1 at some point. If that happens, I think that Toto and Mercedes are in trouble.

    I also think that there is going to be a sponsorship exodus at the end of the season because of the dominance that occurring and the global economic issues. I think that some of the companies will choose to put their sponsorship money in our sports rather than Formula 1.

    • “Who knows, maybe Dietrich M. is thinking about taking over Formula 1 at some point. If that happens, I think that Toto and Mercedes are in trouble.”….

      Is that because Dietrich would come in and implement rules that would favour his team? Don’t you think then no one would want to join the sport because of the conflict of interest? The owner of the sport owns 2 of the teams participating.

      So yea you are correct, because Mercedes, Ferrari and all the other teams would severely disadvantaged by rules aimed at seeing both Red Bull owned teams succeed.

      • Wow, you sure missed the boat on that one.
        I think what was meant is that by Dietrich M. pulling out, he would then be free of any interest conflict should he decide to purchase F1.

      • I think that Dietrich M. would shudder Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso and then come back and either buy into or buy Formula 1 as a whole.

        Love him or dislike him, Dietrich M. succeeded in making Red Bull one of the most recognized brands in Formula 1. If Red Bull and Toro Rosso are shuddered at the end of the season, there are dark days ahead for the sport.

        Yes, teams come and go from F1 but the grid losing 4 cars when only 2 cars are entering next year and Lotus and Manor are barely on the grid. Red Bull leaving is not what the sport needs right now. I hope Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, etc. are ready for three car teams.

        One thing that I would like to see is if Red Bull exits the sport, Adrian Newey should go to Ferrari and work with them. He works well with Sebastian Vettel.

        I also hope that Toto Wolff is ready to have blame put at his feet when Red Bull do exit because I honestly believe that besides the issues he stated from the Mercedes side and being afraid of the competition; there are issues between Toto, Niki, Helmut, and Dietrich. They can’t play nice in the sandbox. Toto and Niki got involved with the Mercedes team because they didn’t like Red Bull’s domination.

        If Ross Brawn was still in charge at Mercedes, Red Bull would have had Mercedes power units in order to keep the teams on the grid. He would have known that Red Bull leaving the sport at the end of the season would have a significant, negative impact on the sport.

        I hope that Toto likes it when the grid is smaller and it’s basically just Mercedes and Ferrari racing. I truly wonder how long term Honda’s commitment to the sport is given their current struggles and the high participation costs.

        If the Formula 1 was stronger, the Red Bull and Toro Rosso cars leaving the grid wouldn’t have as significant of an impact. Bernie is the one that is responsible for the state of Formula 1’s grid. The sport is not appealing to new teams and manufacturers because of the high costs to participate in the sport, the instability of the calendar, the loss of the historic tracks, the high costs for fans to attend the grands prix, Formula 1’s lack of a innovative online presence that makes it possible for fans around the world to see the races, etc.

        I think that Toto’s stubbornness, Bernie’s greed and shady dealings, and the fragile economic state are really going to harm the sport very soon. I think that Red Bull and Toro Rosso are done after this season.

        Not very good leadership from Toto and Bernie/CVC. Just greed and selfishness.

        • If Ross Brawn was still in charge at Mercedes, Red Bull would have had Mercedes power”….

          Yea right….

          • He would know how to word the contract so there wouldn’t be any problems for Red Bull or Toro Rosso. I know how to word the contract so there wouldn’t be any problems with Red Bull and Toro Rosso if they got Mercedes power units. Toto Wolff isn’t smart enough to play ball with them correctly and he’s too scared of the competition.

          • Lady please stop it.

            Do you really think he’s going to write a contract that doesn’t benefit him and his interest the most?

            And what do you mean ‘Toto is smart enough?”

            Ferrari are refusing to give them the same spec power units as Seb and Kimi, are they scared as well?

            You need to realise this is real world situation we’re talking about here, which involves a massive amount of money.

  16. RBR are holding a gun to F1 head, money or no money nobody should be allowed to do that to any sports, no matter the amount of money power they have, that’s call blackmail.

  17. There not holding a gun to F1’s head. They are simply stating that it is not logical to pump millions into their F1 operations when there is little chance of success. Don’t think RBR will be missed? I think any young driver without a cash cow will miss them, at least they gave young talent an opportunity based on talent alone. There is a terrible perception that RBR are just wingers in the extreme after they dominated the sport for 4 or so years but that is hardly comparable to the current situation with Merc. Numerous rules were changed mid season to try & curb RBR dominance e.g wing flex, throttle mapping, brakes, exhaust blowing, list list goes on & on. Think RB will ruin the sport if DM took it over? Have a look at the crowds at an air race. Turn on your Apple TV & scroll down & look at what sports the Redbull channel has & the easy accessibility to every race etc… You don’t think DM would drag F1 into the digital age with direct subscription etc? Do you think that the current owners give a stuff about F1 & its history or the fact that they can hoover so much cash from it?

    Seroiusly I think some people live in F1 dream land. It dying a slow death & needs change. Don’t hate the players, hate the game. You can’t blame RBR for trying to get it changed a bit.

    • “Give us a competitive power unit or we will withdraw both our teams”….

      That’s pretty much holding a gun to the sports head.

      And yes they’re a bunch of whiners. As the article clearly states, both McLaren and Williams have endured their share of poor seasons in the sport and they’ve got a far greater history than Red Bull, but you don’t see that sort of behaviour. Red Bull aren’t the only team that has pumped millions into the sport and even so, does that give them the right to try and dictate to others? No it doesn’t.

      As for whether it would be right for DM to take control of the sport, don’t you think if that were to happen, it would be run in a way that favours his 2 teams?

    • Like yeah we all have an Apple TV sitting in our livingroom! I know RB are involved in loads of sport but I don’t really care about their brand (or most f the sports). They are holding a gun to F1’s head and they are acting like spoiled brats. If they want an engine on par with the top teams they should have spent some of their development money on building their own one. Where were the demands for equality when RB were winning all the time? Oh that’s right, it didn’t affect them so they didn’t care!
      F1 needs a good shake up but it certainly doesn’t need Red Bull. They’ll be doing F1 a favour when they leave and I hope they take Marko and Horner with them.

  18. Red bull are not holding a gun to F1’s head. F1 will not collapse & disappear if RBR pack up & disappear. Honda, Toyota BMW all left in a short space of time & the show went on. Seriously, get a grip. RBR have been around 5 minutes in the F1 world. What RBR are simply pointing out is that there is a distinct lack of engine competiveness & that those behind are hamstrung to try & make up the deficit. Customers don’t get parity & subsequently F1 is turning into a defecto two tier competition. Whilst F1 will survive without Redbull however I get the distinct feeling that many think that they should simply run around without potential to win because other stalwarts of the sport have done so for years, and it would be poor form to do otherwise. That really is stupidity, both Williams & McLaren are F1 teams first & foremost with business arsing from F1 endeavours. Red bull are an energy drinks company that leverage F1 to promote their brand. It is what it is.

    • I am in agreement. What choice did Williams or McLaren have? F1 was the center of their operations. It’s not like the old days when Indy Car teams were or other series were queuing up to buy McLaren chassis. RB’s poition kind of reminds me of one of the currently popular memes. Doesn’t matter, (had sex) won 8 Championships.

  19. Formula 1 needs Red Bull for the grid numbers more than Red Bull needs Formula 1.

    It looks like Lotus were having issues with Suzuka as far as late payments for their hospitality and the team’s freight has arrived late. If Renault don’t buy/takeover the team, I think that they may not be on the grid for 2016. That would be 2 more cars gone from the 2016 grid.

    If Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso leave F1, where do the drivers end up? That’s the big question.

    • ‘Formula 1 needs Red Bull for the grid numbers more than Red Bull needs Formula 1.’…….


    • The Drivers!!!!!!! What about the many hundreds of engineers and staff???????
      To me the problem with Red Bull is while they have put huge sums into F1 they have benefited from all the PR. Just look at how many motor sports they are involved in. It’s all about money, by that I mean Profit for the Drinks Company.
      I understand their frustration at Renault, boy must that be frustrating. Having signed an engine deal for the manufacturer (who have a great v6 turbo history) to create a terrible engine (the format of which Renault lobbied for) for them to iron out some problems during the first year to come to year 2 and have not really improved is not good. Then for the engine supplier to decide very early in year 2 not to develop the engine any further as they were pulling out later in the year must be soul destroying.
      So Red Bull have been backed into a corner and they are coming out fighting.
      Lets face it if you are going into negotiations you don’t start by asking for what you want as you have no where to negotiate too. You start asking for more that you will settle for. So maybe Red Bull are just setting out their starting position.
      My bet is that Ferrari will provide them with engines for the next 3 years while Red Bull either work with/buy Illmore or Cosworth etc. and develop their own engine just to show the rest of F1. Alternatively VW could have already signed up to buy Red Bull in 2018 and Red Bull contractually need to stay within top 3 for deal to remain intact?
      Certainly is livening up F1 as the track action hasn’t been great. 🙂

  20. “Lady please stop it.
    Do you really think he’s going to write a contract that doesn’t benefit him and his interest the most?
    And what do you mean ‘Toto is smart enough?”
    Ferrari are refusing to give them the same spec power units as Seb and Kimi, are they scared as well?
    You need to realise this is real world situation we’re talking about here, which involves a massive amount of money.
    ‘Formula 1 needs Red Bull for the grid numbers more than Red Bull needs Formula 1.’…….

    In response to fortis96’s comments, I think that he underestimates my intelligence. No, I don’t think that Toto Wolff is going to write a contract that doesn’t benefit Mercedes interest the most. What I was saying is that there is a way that he could have done a power unit supply contract with Red Bull that would have given Red Bull what they want while assuring that Red Bull would not cause the brand damage to Mercedes that they caused to Renault.

    Toto Wolff doesn’t know how to do a contract like that. I do. Many times as the leader of Mercedes, Toto has done things that show his lack of leadership experience and the fact that he is a college dropout. My education and training is in exercise and sports-sports administration and sports and fitness management. I know very well the massive amounts of money and people involved in Formula 1. CEO of companies would interview me and ask my advice on things at age 15.

    There were attempts to bully me into silence by Mercedes because of some of the things that I have been saying. It has caused significant problems for me and angered many people.

    Hopefully, Ferrari can figure out how to do the contract to or else Red Bull will be gone along with its 4 cars. Formula 1 is struggling to keep cars on the grid. If Red Bull and their 4 cars leave and Renault doesn’t end up taking over Lotus because of the financial mess that the team is in, 2 more cars will be lost on the grid.

    There is a probably that 6 cars will be lost from the grid at season’s end. That is not good for the sport of Formula 1. If those cars leave, the entertainment value of the on-track product will suffer and significant sponsorship dollars may leave the sport as a result which is not good news for a sport that is already struggling.

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