Red Bull final announcement to withdraw from Formula One in two weeks


In a remarkable article published by the Red Bull mouthpiece website Speedweek, the fizzy drinks company sets out to justify its position on leaving Formula One.

Be assured, this article may well be the first coherent explanation from Red Bull as to why they have behaved in the manner they have towards their power unit partner Renault.

This does not mean their rationale is reasonable.

Firstly, Red Bull accuse Renault of not having spent enough money on developing their V6 Turbo Hybrid power unit and they reveal the price commanded for their engine is 54 million euros a year – for both teams.

Günther Wiesinger, the writer commissioned to pen this apologetic, clearly explains that Red Bull see themselves as unlike the rest of the Formula One competitors.

“Red Bull is a drinks producer, not a longstanding F1 team like Williams or McLaren, and not a car manufacturer like Mercedes, Renault, Honda or Ferrari.”

So what?

Well apparently, four championships in consecutive years is not enough for a company which views F1 as a marketing platform. And so Red Bull having no quick route back to the top, are set to leave Formula One.


“The cost/benefit calculation is no longer worthwhile”.

As some kind of justification of the Red Bull tantrum threats to leave F1, we are then given the examples of Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Cosworth, Toyota and BMW – all of whom withdrew from Formula One, based upon ‘economic considerations and not impulse.’

So in fact, despite trying to differentiate themselves from other F1 competitors, Red Bull are not so different from Mercedes. The German car manufacturer has admitted being in Formula One to market their cars – just not cans of fizzy pop.

And herein lies the fatal flaw with Red Bull’s F1 ambitions. In NO WAY do they desire to be associated with anything automotive, other than spending hundreds of millions on advertising their product and selling more taurine.

Maenwhile, Mercedes are both producing and marketing their product rather well.

The Speedweek article then treats us to details of Dierich Mateschitz’s emotional journey of disappointment, frustration and eventually anger as the Renault power unit progresses through 2014 and 2015.

An early criticism from Red Bull is the unreliability of the Renault PU in 2015. Yet earlier this year, Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul made it patently clear that Red Bull were pushing for performance upgrades to be delivered on track before Renault’s programme of bench testing for reliability was complete.

“Renault does not only drain us of money, but also of desire and motivation,” is the next dramatic claim from Mateschitz.

The Speedweek writer posits the notion that because Red Bull have an annual budget of 3-400 million euros a year, that this alone should see them higher up the pecking order.

Again, failure to deliver results given this budget is Red Bull’s justification for leaving F1.

Mmm. Tell of the disappointment to Honda and Toyota, who spent $1bn each in one year playing F1 – and neither won a ‘works’ title, never mind four.

Speedweeks’s article begins to wrap up by reminding us how when Dietrich Mateschitz became disillusioned with his NASCAR sponsored team’s inability to make progress – and he ruthlessly pulled the plug without any remorse.

Yes – we hear you Red Bull – you are leaving… and have been doing so for some time.

The rest of the article reads like an obituary. Red Bull has decided to remain committed to motorsports, DTM, WRC, Sportscars, MotoGP… bla bla bla.

But the good news is that leaving F1 is no big deal for the staff in Milton Keynes – who should have job security due to the ‘many foreign contracts’ Red Bull have for ‘aerodynamics work’ and ‘ENGINES’.

TJ13 has reported exclusively for almost a year about the goings on in building 9 with Mario Illien.

But in reality leaving F1 will surely see some MK redundancies, given that most sane organisations would not employ Red Bull to crash test a nose 63 times. (Exclusively reported by TJ13).

Red Bull have set the end of October as the date by which they must have an engine agreement – otherwise they are gone from F1 – ALLEGEDLY (Bernie you listening?).

Then again, Bernie’s too busy at the moment bull shitting the world that CVC are imminently to sell F1.

Others in F1 appear to be already facing up to life without Red Bull as Toto Wolff states F1 will survive if the fizz ‘hip brand’ company ups and leaves the sport.

“A a couple of years ago, within the space of 18 months, we had Toyota, Honda and BMW leaving the sport. They were three great constructors and F1 survived.

“So our emphasis at the moment must be on trying to keep them in the sport. If we cannot because it is taken out of our hands, then I think it [F1] is going to survive.”

Wolff identifies that F1 is cyclical and patience has always been required from its participants. “Have no doubt; give it two years and Renault and Honda are going to be competitive again.”

This cyclical aspect proven over Formula One’s 65 year history – whilst lost on Red Bull – is clear to the fans.

In a James Allen pole, readers were asked: “Should we feel sorry for Red Bull’s predicament or is it their own fault?”

Over 3,100 responded and the overwhelming majority said that there was little sympathy for Red Bull.


Some of James Allen’s readers commented

“It’s very hard to feel sorry for RedBull. While they have poured millions into F1 in the past few years, this has been to the detriment of F1 overall. They’ve blocked cost saving measures and wrecked FOTA, Just so that they can leverage the advantage they have (a massive budget) to win.”

“On one hand it is difficult to feel sorry for Red Bull because of the way they conducted themselves during their dominance and post their dominance also. They are a team who I find difficult to like with a certain disregard for some rules and certainly not playing within the spirit of the rules in a number of cases such also.”

“Finger boy didn’t do much for their plight either in my opinion. Coupled to that the attitude of we’re not winning anymore so we are going to kick and scream but as nobody is listening we’re going to leave isn’t the most enigmatic way to conduct yourselves either.”

For many, Red Bull have gloated in victory (balls in the pool comments) and been ungracious in defeat. And for this reason are not loved.

TJ13 will conduct a different poll from James Allen, and we ask the question: “Are Red Bull necessary for the future of Formula One?”

56 responses to “Red Bull final announcement to withdraw from Formula One in two weeks

  1. RB may go because they are not making money, Mercedes may go in 5 years if the cost-benefit balance gets broken and of course they stop to winning. Ecclestone is most responsible to have transformed F-1 in one of the crudest business in the world. The FIA gets second place because they haven’t thought very well the regulations since 2007-08.
    I’m a RB fan because they brought to my country an F-1 car a race-winning F-1 car driven by Couldhard. They made those Road Shows for economic reasons but they are the only one modern team that has come to my country. Maybe Formula 1 should have learned from the marketing approaches from RB and the initiative from other teams to get closer to the fan$. And RB should have learned from Williams, McLaren, Ferrari and Sauber that F-1 is a cycle sport in which packing order changes from time to time. Patience is required to write your name in history of one of the most expensive sports in the world.

  2. RB may go because they are not making money, Mercedes may go in 5 years if the cost-benefit balance gets broken and of course they stop to winning. Ecclestone is most responsible to have transformed F-1 in one of the crudest business in the world. The FIA gets second place because they haven’t thought very well the regulations since 2007-08.

    I’m a RB fan because they brought to my country an F-1 car a race-winning F-1 car driven by Couldhard. They made those Road Shows for economic reasons but they are the only one modern team that has come to my country. Maybe Formula 1 should have learned from the marketing approaches from RB and the initiative from other teams to get closer to the fan$. And RB should have learned from Williams, McLaren, Ferrari and Sauber that F-1 is a cycle sport in which packing order changes from time to time. Patience is required to write your name in history of one of the most expensive sports in the world.

  3. Another way to look at it is. Redbull are sponsors of a team. Sponsor pulls out, team folds up.

    • Usually, sponsor pulls out, team looks for another sponsor. Or looks for a buyer.

      It appears in this case as if they are just going to close up out of spite.

      With their various guaranteed payments you could run a fairly good team for the next few seasons while rebuilding so there would be value in someone buying the operation.

      I’ve commented earlier that I wonder if this is one of the reasons Renault are taking so long to sign on the dotted line with Lotus. Even if it costs more, Red Bull is a much more attractive proposition for them over the shorter term.

  4. It will definitely be a big blow to Formula 1, but not a kill shot. With the arrival of Hass F1 next season, in real terms, we only lose 2 cars off of the grid, now I know 18 cars is not perfect, but if Hass can gain some level of success in a reasonable time frame, it may encourage others to enter via the same root. Coupled with the fact Bernie’s days are numbered, time waits for no man, eventually it will catch up with him and I believe that will allow a flood of change to was over the whole of F1 and its associated stakeholders.

  5. ““The cost/benefit calculation is no longer worthwhile”…..

    Yea right I call bullsh!t on that!

    Wouldn’t it be nice if after reading this, Renault comes out with their version of events?

    • No, what would be nice, is Renault winning races and challenging for championships in the next 2 years.

      • No, what would be nice is if red bull showed the French how to actually build an engine and lap Renaults works team at every race next year.

        No-Token Renault is a insult to modern F1 and a benchmark display of what being unfocused and lazy in world competition gets you.

        ZERO TOKENS SPENT. It’s October 2015.

        • Politics may be delaying the use of those tokens. Just because they haven’t spent the tokens doesn’t mean they are not spending on development. We knew a couple months ago the marriage was over, if I were Renault I wouldn’t have been in any hurry to help Red Bull move up the order. If Renault release an upgrade now it won’t help either Red Bull team in the final standings.

        • When your “partner” goes on a shit-slinging campaign, pointing the finger at you for their failings while they were too busy gloating during their glory days to even acknowledge your presence, you don’t exactly feel like putting a shift in. Renault barely reaped any benefits from supplying Red Bull with top-level engines from 2010 to 2013. Ghosn was ok with letting his engine development team carry on if Renault could get any tangible/financial gain from it (read “sell more cars”). Turns out only Red Bull got any attention so Renault were like “Why are we developing engines if winning with Red Bull isn’t helping us sell more cars ?”. Red Bull are in F1 to sell more drinks, Mercedes are in F1 to sell more cars, Renault are in F1 to sell more cars. It’s about time Renault stopped playing fair with Red Bull, Ghosn doesn’t open his mouth randomly, for him to come out and basically tell Mateschitz “That’s it, we’re done, screw you” says a lot.

          • @KimKas, you must be new to F1, here are some key points from your paragraph.

            1) When your partner fails to deliver a functional power unit (winter testing 2014 in case you didnt follow the sport that long ago) and you need to supply your partner with human resources in order to complete the job they were contracted do to, you can openly discuss your partners failings, its not shit slinging. Red Bull havent lied once, Renault FAILED.

            2) Did Red Bull STOP Renault from marketing their own achievements? NO. Did Red Bull force Renault to slap Infiniti on the side of their car? NO. Using the ‘marketing’ argument with regards to Red Bull not promoting Renault is weak at best, pathetic at worst. Can you answer who stopped Renault from going on a media/promotional/advertising blitz to show the world they powered the WCC/WDC car for 4 years in a row?

            3) Top Level engine? debatable, you know whats not debatable, Red Bull gave Renault a top level car to put their motors in – 7 years in a row now. Also, just so you know, Red Bull Developed their own KERS system during the V8 era – so Renault gets ZERO credit in that department.

            4) Renault made a @%@5 PU in 2014 and somehow it got worse in 2015. How is that Red Bull’s fault?

          • Wait, wasn’t Red Bull paying Renault for the engines, though? I mean, I agree Red Bull has treated Renault terribly and essentially brought this upon themselves, but there is (or was) this customer-type deal that Red Bull felt they weren’t getting good quality for their money.

          • @Mark – Renault employed roughly 20% of the workers mercedes/ferrari employed on the same project. Legally speaking that’s gross negligence. Its the same as saying you’ve put 2 high school students on the cure for cancer and you dont know why they couldnt find the cure.

            Renault should be held in front of a judge for the amount of money they’ve cost red bull. Top level staff at renault should be fired and renault should be banned from F1. We dont need lazy companies in world competition.

  6. More teams might be gone after next year based on the direction the EU will take with the complaint. (Force India and Sauber do not see a new distribution of money – or Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Mercedes will see a new distribution of money and some nice fines on top of that.) RBR would leave too in that situation, they are just a bit early. Within a few years at least 2 more teams will exit. It’s just the start of the collapse of Ecclestone’s 1st Reich.

    And comparing RBR’s situation with a decade ago when others left is difficult. The teams spent way less back then. A few bad years would not cost you a couple of hundred million in wasted money. And there was also a large pool to take engines from with less performace differences than the current V6’s who also heavily depend on the right software and fuel to deliver efficient peak performance. Not long ago even Mercedes was reconsidering their involvement in the sport and apparently they went all in, because that is the only way you get it all back. But when they would have failed with the new engine, they would have been out by now too. Nice talking from the total dominant luxury position they are in.

    • But when they would have failed with the new engine, they would have been out by now too.

      Not really – Ferrari had arguably a poorer engine than Renault last year (more reliable, but its ERS was poor) and look how they turned it around!

      Mercedes would likely have done the same and so will Renault & Honda – their reputation as manufacturers of engines and motor vehicles means they can’t bottle it, especially as there’s no big financial sink-hole to hide in like Toyota, BMW & Honda did in 2008/9. The manufacturers wanted these regs and have to make them work, possibly by forcing through rule tweaks to allow change and competitiveness, but compete they must.

      Red Bull Racing only exist as a motorised billboard to sell tart drinks to extreme sports fans & workaholics – it probably hurts them more than Monster & Burn are getting similar exposure for much less money.

      • Renault should have done that in the period from 2014 to 2015. The same turnaround as Ferrari. But they didn’t. Their 2015 PU was and is marginally better than the 2014 one, without the loophole Renault would not even have been able to build a 100% token upgraded 2015 PU on time. And the 2015 unit had a design flaw in the pistons. Even the final 2015 engine that is currently on the test bench is running into trouble and hasn’t got a significant performance gain compared to what they run with now. But somehow you expect Renault to come significantly closer to Mercedes and Ferrari who can use the same amount of 2016 tokens as Renault to improve their engines……
        Only Honda can make a significant leap. They know where the main issue is with their engine (turbo size and speed) and can work on that. Ferrari was having the same problem last year. My guess is that Honda at minimum will bring a 2016 engine that is equal to Renault’s 2016 unit, but likely more between Ferrari and Renault.

  7. It’s hard to feel sorry for Redbull over the power unit disaster. They kicked and screamed like a two year old in a sweet isle and have been left in the wake of a quickly leaving Renault shaped life boat. We all know why Redbull entered F1, they appeared in a blaze of blue and red and had the biggest and best toys in the paddock. The likes of Ferrari and Williams looked down the pit lane and wondered what was happening,sure we have had flash teams in the mix before, who can forget a rather flashy playboy setup with a teddy bear? but this was something different. It is a team who’s only goal was to push their drink (i say that with a smirk as I personally can’t stand the thing) and poke fun at the old guys. I was blessed with a pit pass a few years ago and all I can say is this, after a win you knew who had managed to climb the top step,I love music but this was just noise played so bloody loud it shook the glass. I can still see the faces of Sir Frank and the poison dwarf as Seb played the fool with the trophy and if looks could have frozen time he would still be there. Redbull have a habit of dropping a sport when its not going their way,rather than weathering the storm and working things out they solve things with a cheque and if this approach fails then its ‘so long and thanks for all the fish’. I wish them well on the trip to WEC and extreme ironing… Or what ever the next fad will be, F1 will miss you but unlike Ferrari, Williams,McLaren and so many others your team has very little soul. Greatness does not come from how many Zogs you spend on something or even from how high you can climb,it comes from the heart,from the sweat and blood that’s given in its name,just look at is a team at the very back,it has a running cost of their catering budget and it has soul so I feel more people will miss them than the mighty Redbulls

  8. what I find interesting is that they will simply pull out, not sell the teams. F1 needs the teams, not the sponsorship of red bull

    • Sell to whom? And what, chassis without engines? Half finished products that need a shitload of money. Nobody around can really afford to run RBR at the moment. TR has a better chance if stuff is decided soon. But again, who can afford to buy TR? Which sponsors are lining up to put cash in these teams? They’d have to run last years engines anyway.

      • Genii bought Lotus from a worse position. Red Bull get a lot of TV money due to their ‘heritage’ status as well as results over the last few seasons.

        Renault wouldn’t say no to supplying more teams if money was flashed. Something has to pay for the development program after all.

        If Renault do decide to take their own team you can be sure the engine will develop so there is a good chance the team could be up there as 3rd / 4th best team for the next couple of seasons while they reorganise and look for an alternative engine supplier.

  9. “before Renault’s programme of bench testing for reliability was complete”

    The key factor here is that Renault was late with their testing anyway. Just as they are late with there testing as we speak for the “Austin” update (will be tight). What was their plan than? Bring a 2014 engine to the first race? That 2015 race engine originally had to be completely ready in february 2015, but Renault were never ever going to meet that deadline anyway. They would have been racing a half upgraded 2014 PU if Ferrari had not pointed out the homologation loophole. You really have to wonder where Renault are with their 2016 PU or that they are again hoping for a loophole or regulation change.

  10. Boohoo.
    What’s the phrase? Leave (something) in a better state than you found it.
    I don’t think that they can be accused of that.
    Should we scratch the RedBullRing from the calendar as well?
    If this is the level of contribution to the sport then I say ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’.
    I agree with JA’s reader’s observation that they have wrecked FOTA and cost saving drives, amongst other things.
    Obviously devastating for employees at MK, whose expertise was instrumental in helping RB to sell liquid insomnia to the masses, I wish them good luck in their job searches.
    I’m just glad that the purveyor of tooth decay and premature heart attacks doesn’t own my favoured football team.

  11. Can’t wait to see the back of them. I hope Bernie takes them to the cleaners.spice boy is actually going to have to spend some time with his new missus.

  12. We all have seen team come and go. Why should we weep? Red bull never showed their passion and love for the sport. I will weep when teams like ferrari, mclaren or williams decide to quit…

  13. What I like in Red Bull:
    * The desire for publicity / sharing
    * The hunger to win
    * The arm-twisting with existing F1 powers
    * The results (four championships, and this year mainly Torro Rosso form)

    I would like them to stay. But if they don’t stay, I would like at least Torro Rosso to continue in one form or another.

  14. I think we should be fair with the monikers we assign to the F1 characters.
    Fingerboy because he always gave it.
    Spiceboy because he bagged a Spicegirl
    Pussyboy because he dated a Pussy Cat Doll, or Doll boy or even Dog boy
    Let’s be even handed here.

  15. In other news today, it turns out Justin Beeebar has a penis! Shock, horror! Who knew? Let’s flood the internet with the cock of an androgynous teenager. Yay for us all.

    Oh, yeah, and the Russians are going like super-crazy with their cruise missiles, as well as air strikes. Nothing major… At least breaching Turkey’s airspace will erode one of the few allies they’ve left. But yeah, Beeeba’s purple headed warrior is unveiled for all to see. Putin must be mad, this was supposed to be his time in the western media! Bad timing Vlad, bad timing.

    Speaking of which, it just occurred to me, where’s Landroni? I loved reading his “Vlad the Impaler”, sword carrying, F1 perspectives. They were super-cool.

  16. Sounds to me like a marketing decision.
    Some may have a passion for F1, but Red Bull sponsors all sorts of crazy sports. Its not like F1 is in their blood. They look at the cost, their target audience and decide if it will sell enough drinks to continue.
    Here’s the bad part for F1: declining viewership and rising age demographics. A sport that doesn’t interest the kids is a dying sport.

  17. Abitebouil admitted Renault ingnored their quality standards by giving RB updates that were not fully proven. It’s not only that RB demanded updates quickly, it’s also that Renault didn’t work properly. RB’s threats are tiresome but please, don’t let your hatred tell the story as it is, and being a little objective.

    • Renault has quality standards? So when they couldn’t fire up their engine in winter testing 2014, what quality standards were they following?

      When red bull software team stepped in to save the day and helped Renault actually turn thier shit on. What quality standards were Renault following then?

  18. There is another angle to all this. Red Bull saying they are leaving will have an effect on the share prices of F1. Bernie slagging off engines/noise etc and saying they are selling F1!!!! So between them they have lowered the selling price of F1. Now Dierich Mateschitz will buy F1 at a knock down price. Lets face it how good would a sport look having the owner also owning 2 teams in the ‘sport’?

    So in my opinion Dierich Mateschitz will pull Red Bull and Toro and buy F1.

  19. Yep. F1 is totally old man’s sport – for boring old farts who whine endlessly about how it’s not like it was in the good old days. Younger fans are seriously afflicted with a nostalgia for racing they’ve even never seen except on sh!tty YouTube highlight packages.

    I’m half a fan of RB for them sticking it up the other “grandee” teams – seriously WTF is that anyway – by showing them it was just about the money. The history, provenance and tradition of the totally stuck up “original” race teams wasn’t worth a pinch of sh!t up against a well run team full of cherry-picked technical talent, a top-notch driver and super deep pockets – how embarassment for the old dears.

    The oily, overwhelmingly self-satisified, self-justified, sanctimonious schadenfreude of those cheering RB’s demise at the moment is actually pretty funny.

    I’m sure most of you old men out there will pick the references if I say RB have burnt out rather than faded away, that they are raging at the dying of the light – surely a consumation devoutly to be wish’d.

    Good riddance maybe, but it was fun while it lasted.

    • Do not go gentle into that good night,
      Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

      Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
      Because their words had forked no lightning they
      Do not go gentle into that good night.

      Dylan Thomas

  20. I find it sad that Merc and Ferrari are not willing to compete with RBR on equal footing, but at the same time, I understand why they won’t… they all want to win. I sincerely hope that someone offers them something so that they stay, else it’s going to be a tiny grid next year. Oh… and fuck Renault. They asked for these engines but weren’t willing to invest the time and money to make them powerful and reliable.

  21. “Red Bull is a drinks producer, not a longstanding F1 team like Williams or McLaren”
    Yet they were happy to take Bernie’s legacy payments.

  22. So… Red Bull leaves F1, right? You’ll see investors grabbing the opportunity and buy a team. Hopefully Toro Rosso will stay Italian (suggested name: Force Italy) and will for sure get Ferrari engines. RB will become, what, DAMS? ART? Tesla? Whoever has enough money to buy the naming rights.
    I’m sure Ricciardo and Verstappen are being courted by other teams as we speak.

  23. And then it’ll turn out RB & TR are just using Ferrari engines next year… See

    Judge, is there any truth to this? It argues the exact opposite of the above piece.

    I read all of this “obituary” stuff by Red Bull very differently. They’re bluffing, just like they’ve always done. And eventually, when they’re done crying, they’ll make sure mommy puts the toys back in the pram.

    So everyone is going bananas over nothing, and Red Bull get what they want.

    • Must admit that I did think it was all negotiation. i.e. Red Bull say they want Works spec engine, Ferrari say they can have 2015 engine and they settle in the middle at 2016 customer engines.
      It all creates a bit of publicity for F1 plus there will probably have been Bernie deals under the table as well.

  24. I like your article but a few points I’d like to make .teams like honda .Toyota ,jag and others that have left was not bringing young fans to the sport or running no young driver programmes and not bringing any life to the sport what so ever . Mercedes are the most boring team iv ever seen on the grid same as honda and Toyota was , they get a 1 2 finish and it’s the most boring podium and not worth watching same as the press conference afterwards . With this boring engine we run at the moment not only does the sport need red bull but it also needs red bull beat it needs red bull winning

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