Why F1 should expel Red Bull from the sport

horner

Late one night over the Sochi weekend, I was trying to unravel the conundrum that is Red Bull Racing in Formula One Land. I found a reference to a mysterious character, who shall remain nameless.

In something of a trance like state brought on by pondering the mind of Vladimir Putin, the shadowy character came to me and explained my search was an attempt to see beyond the Red Bull illusion.

Holding out a capsule on each of his palms, he described my choice:

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more”.

Red Bull Racing in effect in 2015 became a works team. They and their little sister team Toro Rosso were the only customers of an F1 engine manufacturer who does run an F1 works team. This pot of gold is something McLaren set out to pursue some time ago. It is the Nirvana of Formula One as big Ron says: “Our goal is to win the world championship. And that objective would not be within our reach if we continued with a customer engine”.

Yet Red Bull Racing are disillusioned with this privileged ‘works’ engine relationship and some months ago served notice on Renault that they wanted out of the contract.

It’s undeniable that Renault have produced a poor V6 Turbo Hybrid power unit to date, but in time they will turn it around as history has demonstrated, then the mighty Bull’s could reign supreme once more.

So the mystery over the fizzy drinks family’s behaviour is multi layered. Firstly, why don’t they just suffer a few years of pain with Renault, just as McLaren, Ferrari and Williams – all great F1 champions have done.

We have been given the reason as to why Red Bull cannot accept not being number one in Formula One; and why number two in the constructors race last year following four years at the top is unacceptable. Equally their probable number four position in 2015 is unacceptable.

In the press conference in Japan, Christian Horner repeated the Red Bull F1 philosophy we have heard many times before.

“Red Bull’s position is different to teams such as McLaren or Williams or Ferrari. Formula One has to provide a return. A marketing return globally. And, in order to do that, you need to be able to not be restricted in terms of the tools at your disposal”.

I am now too weak to resist. I must know the meaning of this. I reach out and grab the red pill from the hand before my eyes– and INSTANTLY I know I’m unplugged.

So Red Bull are not like McLaren, Williams and Ferrari. They are not in Formula One primarily to compete – is the Horner message. They are in Formula One first and foremost for its marketing value. Racing is at best a secondary objective.

Then a distant memory breaks into view my consciousness. Hasn’t this been revealed to me before I took the red pill?

The answer – yes it has.

I feel cheated. The red pill must itself have been an illusion. It in reality offered me insight into something I already knew. The shadowy figure spoke, laying bare my deepest thoughts.

“The truth is not in what is before you – but what is missing.”

The fog again began to descend on my mind. I frantically read again Horner’s comments looking for the truth, the meaning, the reason…

Like the Damascus road light – it was suddenly clear. The missing link is now obvious and the reason for Red Bull’s angst is now  instantly apparent. Horner’s list of F1 teams excluded one rather significant name.

Mercedes – the team dominating Formula One; dominating in a way Red Bull never quite did. Mercedes of course are using Formula One as a marketing platform to sell their cars. ‘Win a race on Sunday, sell cars on Monday’, as one great thinker once said.

The reality is that Mercedes have played the great RB marketers at their own game and are beating them hands down. Red Bull has been out bullied in the marketing department, and this is not good.

(Quick note to all, we’ll forgive Spice boy for not believing Ferrari also gains huge marketing value form Formula One)

So how can Merc be trumping Red Bull at their own marketing game? Red Bull boss Dietricht Mateschitz has more money than God? Surely this man can do what is required to be top dog in the F1 marketing stakes?

Like a stream of numbers scrolling up the screen before me, the matrix is being revealed. Mercedes have performed this previously thought impossible feat of defeating King Bull and his cronies.

How? Because they are a car manufacturer. Every day Mercedes build tens of thousands of motorcars. And by the way, motor vehicles are a fundamental component of automotive racing.

And so Mercedes have the desire, the will and the know how to deliver the best prototype racing machines – and they do this because – Formula One is a perfect marketing platform for an auto manufacturer. Whereas fizzy drinks play no part in any part of the design, manufacture or running of a motorcar.

Red Bull are simply in the wrong marketing game.

The threat that Mateschitz may just start his own Red Bull global racing series may only have recently become public, but the persistent claims that the Red Bull and Toro Rosso workforces can be deployed on other projects easily demonstrates the reality of this consideration has been around for some time. There is no way 800 people in Milton Keynes who are dedicated to building racing cars will suddenly change tack and design yachts – or even the most aerodynamically efficient paper clip ever. They will carry on building racing cars, just not for Formula One.

Another thought then zipped across my minds eye like a lightening bolt. Maybe Formula One racing should be all about cars, automotive technology and racing – and then, and only then – will the desire to compete in F1 be anywhere near pure and true.

All other corrupt and perverted reasons for participating Formula One should be viewed as mere chaff. These sinful desires lead to irrational thinking that in turn leads to a nonsensical rationale – such as, having to win at all costs, but not enjoying journey and the competition – and also believing your need for a marketing ‘return’ is more important than anyone else’s.

Nobody buys/starts an F1 team to finish last – but someone always does so. No one is truly content with any finishing position other than first, but hey, not everyone can win.

TJ13’s poll last week asked “Are Red Bull necessary for the future of Formula One”, and we had an unprecedented response.

938 (78%) people said no.

263 (22%) people said yes.

The red pill is not good for my state of tranquillity. I am outraged at the covert hijack Red Bull have attempted to pull on Formula One. Yes, they have a recognised and long established genius designer who provides them with some credibility; and the team have produced market leading chassis designs which are worthy of admiration.

However, the Mateschitz F1 empire is fundamentally opposed to the values one would ascribe to Formula One. Red Bull has ingratiated itself on a historic annual motorsports competition and suddenly their threat to withdraw their CASH from the sport is perceived as the final straw which will take F1 down.

Boll%&ks.

The reality is F1 is not and never will be dependent on Red Bull. Bernie Ecclestone may more urgently require their services to meet his contractual obligations with race promoters – but in reality Formula One should extract the Red Bull philosophical cancer from its presence.

And for the TJ13 doubters who think F1 will do down without Red Bull – you too can take the red pill. It’s not too difficult to swallow and there are few adverse after effects. We have reserve tablets to spare.

Any F1 fan should ask the question; ‘why would anyone want to see the raison d’etre of the sport I love – be abused at the hands of a bunch of marketing Charlatans?’

“Red Bull’s position is different to teams such as McLaren or Williams or Ferrari. Formula One has to provide [us with] a return.” Whilst refreshingly honest, this is a monumentally stupid thing to say.

Of course F1 can’t forcibly expel Red Bull, but by damning the persistent winging and complaining of their senior management with indifference and not forcing Ferrari or Mercedes to provide them with an engine, we can but hope they will just go away.

And if Red Bull’s primary reason for being in Formula One is as they state, maybe the response should be – “go find your marketing ‘return’ elsewhere”.

91 responses to “Why F1 should expel Red Bull from the sport

  1. There is flawed logic in this piece.

    Namely, Red Bull is in F1 to compete, only not in the midfield but upfront. And for McLaren it isn’t any different or else they just would have stayed with a Mercedes customer engine. And how about Ferrari making a big investment to not only compete, but to try and win. And If Mercedes and Ferrari just wanted to compete, they would have no problem with providing Red Bull engines.

    So no, Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren are no different, and some of the other teams also not, or else Force India and Sauber would not have filed a complaint to the EU either.

    If you want to talk about one party who seems only wanting to be present in F1 but not that much more besides that, it has to be Renault.

    • Mmm. I think you missed the point. Red Bull demand to be at the top – to satisfy their need for a ‘return’ on their marketing investment. Who else says this is their raison d’etre for being in F1?

      • I would contend that it is Mercedes’s and Ferrari’s the same as it Red Bull’s. If Mercedes was languishing in the midfield and was uncompetitive with seemingly no way to advance their board would most certainly be getting ready to pull the plug. The same as Toyota and Honda and Jaguar before them. Ferrari is slightly different because racing is certainly tied to their existence, but let us not forget Sergio’s comments last year that they must start winning. And one would assume that if they found themselves on a continued downward trend they might be in Red Bull’s situation, or perhaps leaving for the WEC; especially with their looming IPO and all that may bring. Mclaren could, with their emerging road car division, be lumped with this group too.

        Manufacturer teams are by their nature marketing exercises. Red Bull frankly just seems to be more honest about the whole thing than everyone else. That is not to say I agree with what they are doing, but I can rationalize it.

        My opinion is that the sport would be much better off without the involvement of manufacturers. Because then you would have what we all seem to want, teams that are all in it for the love of competition and not just to further their brand. However, I don’t think the level of technology and innovation that has been achieved and is desired by the fans is sustainable without them.

        • I agree 100% with you Moonyock.

          I had a hard time believing my own eyes when read this article. For a site that says, well at least implies that they are dedicated to F1 to actually want it to lose 2 great teams is beyond me..

          What has happened here since the “metamorphosis”, did it include new staff – new “policy” too?

          • I’ve wondered the same thing and asked the same questions. Very few of the originals post anymore ……

          • my thoughts exactly JC. This site was awesome, and my primary source of all news F1. Now the site encourage the loss of 2 teams!! WTF??? You need to spend some time in a room of mirros judge…

          • F1 will always survive and regroup. But the sport should not be held ransom by any one competitors petulant threats. Better off without them. Oh and by the way, I think your contributions are lightweight and not really worthy of the virtual ink consumed – Touche on the personal comments front.

            Disagreement – even vehement disagreement is what we do here. Sniping and insipid comments are not.

      • Handcuff Mercedes and see what you get. If Mercedes was not winning do you think that their board would put up with financial losses for two years running – and with no end of these losses in sight?

        • What you’re theorising is a deliberate act by those in charge of the sport to stop a team from winning. In Red Bull’s case, no one is deliberately ‘handcuffing’ them.

      • Mercedes will also only stay as a team (besides selling F1 engines) when they can compete at the top and the investment in the team yields a satisfying marketing return. They are no different than Red Bull. Both throw a stupid amount of money at it to come out on top. No team with such budgets can survive (survive board of directors strategy decisions based on the value of the returns) when they do not compete for the championship. When Mercedes looses its competitive advantage or F1 as a whole looses its marketing advantages, they too will try to change the landscape or pull out of the team. They will not have to pull the team out as they can always sell it with an engine.
        Ferrari does not need championships as much as just being in F1 and racing near the front is the core of their corporate strategy. They do not have alternative marketing options and they do not need them either.
        Renault’s strategy is totall unclear as they race hybrids but have a corporate strategy to move full electric and skip hybrid cars as much as possible.

      • Seriously? You guys are throwing integrity out by the bucket loads in 1 day.

        Please tell me ONE reason a team competes in F1 that doesn’t boil down to marketing.

        If your answer includes ‘win’ I think you need to come at the question from a little more adult perspective. Only children would say ‘to win’ when referring to justification of hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to go around in circles.

      • i think that you have missed the point entirely. horner wants to be in a position to launch a challenge for a win. yes, of course he wants to be on the top step, but isn’t that the goal, or should be, of every competitor. ATM RB cannot even mount a challenge considering the rubbish in the back of the car. you and just so many of the media relish in dissing on red bull but all they want to do is be competitive. unfortunately that narrative messes with your agenda.not good copy. swimming against the tide, a pity really. if red bull had an engine that was on par with all the other top teams and they still got beaten then i’m certain that red bull would just work harder. for the last two years they have worked their butt off but no amount of midnight oil is going to improve the trash engine they have bought. i do read this site frequently as it always has some inside running and ideas which are interesting but this is a very poorly thought out article.

          • A title sponsor.

            And after that they would like to challenge for wins. Fortunately they have an engine partner that is willing to try and do whatever it takes to build a competitive engine. Furthermore, they seem to know what their problem is and will address it in the offseason.

            Renault seems to lack the knowledge and the willingness to do what it will take to build a competitive engine. How do they not know by now why they are so down on power? And if they do know, why do there seem to be no plans to make changes to their engine? And if that involves a full rethink and tear down then why aren’t we hearing about it? Or why aren’t they fighting to be able to make larger changes before February.

            The issue is that Red Bull is stuck with an engine that is down on power compared to the rest of the contenders. Their engine supplier seems to have no desire or ability to fight to make it competitive and all the other competitors are seemingly scared to compete by providing one of their engines. There is no options left for them to try and compete. So if they cannot compete then why bother to go race?

            Now you may say that Williams, Lotus, Force India, Manor, STR, and Sauber, these teams are not competing for wins, so they should not bother either? And I would say no that is not the case. These teams, as all teams, exist for different reasons. I’d say that they exist because they are race teams, that’s what they do. They do it for the engineering challenge. The challenge to try and move as far up the grid as possible. For the love of racing. Maybe it’s because they enjoy the scene at Manaco every year. These are very different reasons then why Mercedes or Ferrari or Red Bull or Mclaren go racing. And they are, much nobler reasons than why the latter go racing. But the latter still have their reasons and in particular Red Bull have theirs. And theirs is to compete at the front of the grid in the hopes that they will win and that winning will help sell more drinks. Which is really no different than what Mercedes is trying to do or Ferrarri or any other manufacturers who have ever raced. They are just more open about it. And why that is so shocking I don’t understand. Perhaps it clashes so directly with what we as fans want and hope F1 to be about.

            The way I see it is that you will always have such endeavors unless you were to outlaw direct ownership by corporations who exist for purposes other than racing. And that is not going to happen. The situation with Red Bull should be seen through the lens of them being a manufacturer, but instead of cars they sell drinks. And has always been not just in F1 but in all Motorsport, manufacturers will come so long as it benefits them, and will leave when they are no longer competitive and the marketing dollars can be better spent elsewhere.

          • A thoughtful contribution. Thank you.

            I think you do Renault a disservice. As repeatedly written here, they have won more GP since they joined the sport than any other engine supplier and are now just a handful of wins behind Ford and their dominant DFV engine.

            Further having followed F1 for 40 years, I have never seen or heard from any competitor anything like the kind of rhetoric which persistently spews from the likes of Marko and Horner and on occasion Mateschitz himself.

            Ferrari are a manufacturer and in Formula One to win – yet they suffered a wilderness period prior to the Schumacher era which lasted over a decade – they didn’t bugger off.

            If Red Bull want to be seen as a manufacturer, then they – like Mercedes and Ferrari – need to take control of their entire destiny so far as building an F1 car are concerned. Hey, here’s a thought… there may a few VW brands going cheaply in the near future – RB should buy one of them 😉

          • @the judge. your comments re renault’s illustrious contribution in the past is something that all the serious followers are aware of but some of us have moved on insofar as that very history should ensure that paying ‘customers’ will receive a product worthy of that heritage stamp of approval. that was and is not the case ATM. renault should be putting their hand up and saying that they took the $$$ but couldn’t live up to the performance expectations that they were contractually liable to provide. it is called ‘fit for purpose’. red bull are a team that i do not like ever since they shafted mark webber but in this instance i support them unconditionally. they have been dudded and are paying the price when it should be 99% on renault’s plate. it’s all rather simple really. if the engine had performed we wouldn’t be having this debate and RB don’t build engines.

          • I assume you work for Red Bull PR. You seriously believe Renault can’t be bothered, are short of cash? We all know what Horner and Marko have said but it doesn’t make it true

          • @Moonyock: if I understand the engine update rules correctly, certain components were not allowed to be updated at all. In that case, rethinking is simply not meaningfull and that might explain Renaults (and Honda’s) difficult situation. If new information on the internet is correct, this ban will be removed.

    • The interesting thing is that nothing new has been learned from red bull but many many new things have been learned in recent weeks about teams like Williams.

      Why isn’t TJ13 interested in Williams leaving the sport? After all we have confirmation from Mercedes that they will not supply customers who can challenge them for championships and Williams are the closest customer.

      If f1 is all about competition why don’t we clear the dead weight of teams like Williams that are content with being 5th forever and are effectively the 5th fastest moving billboards and nothing more. F1 is about cars that can win and Williams is just wasting everyone’s time with these pathetic attempts at convincing us they care about winning.

      Isn’t TJ13 interested in questioning teams that have completely given up hope instead of teams that only care about winning, like red bull?

  2. Sorry, guys, but this piece is childish. It’s obvious that F1 needs teams like Red Bull and Toro Rosso. It’s so obvious that is no need to enumerate the reasons …

  3. I would instead argue “Why F1 should expel Renault from the sport”.

    A factory which for years has tried to build engines with the least financial input from the factory.
    A factory who’s boss put the sister brand Infiniti before Renault and afterwards complains that Renault is not getting enough exposure. While their own marketing department completely fails to utilise F1 success for its corporate profiling.
    A factory, who unlike Honda, are not trying (so it seems) at maximum level to improve their engine. Who do not show a clear path. Who miss deadlines like only French can. Who unlike Honda are not throwing extra money and resources at the engine and who unlike Honda do get paid for the engines by their “works” team. Who unlike Honda does not compensate the works team financially for a crap season. And I have not yet heard Honda demand historic money from FOM. – It does look however that the Renault engineers cannot do anything about that as the Renault board of directors simply do not give them the money and facilities to go any faster forward.
    A factory which wants its own factory team, but unlike Ferrari or Mercedes is unwilling to put its own Renault money in that team. And who make such a mess of the takeover that the team to be taken over is near bankruptcy, again stalling the takeover like only French can. A total lack of direction about what they want to achieve with that team.
    A factory which has a history of half arsed attempts in F1. In-out-in-out. Who designs its engines but has a construction with Mecachrome who till this day builds the engines (like the good old Mercedes Illmor days -Ilmor are busy with an interesting 5-stroke concept btw).
    A factory which brought an engine to the first test of 2014 which would have been unuseable had it not been for the then non-works team Red Bull supplying software knowledge.
    A factory who, by the looks of it, depends on a change of 2016 rules to allow in-season development, because they seem unable to build a complete 2016 engine that has gone through the bench testing in time for end of february 2016. In other words, a factory who advocated the rules, who went in fully aware of the token system and the deadlines, but who have been unable to meet any of the deadlines so far.

    What are Renault doing in F1? They lack all spirit of a winner, they do not look like they want to win. They are just there hoping, that one day, the rules will go in their favour and they luck into another novelty like blown diffusers again. That might work as long as there is no Mercedes, Ferrari or VW (and even Honda) around who are ready to throw half a million and more at an engine and will be honest when they do not want to do that.

    • @ sash…an excellent post. i do fully support your comments. when renault complain that they got no market exposure for being a partner in RB ‘wins’, one has to ask the question…why? was their marketing department asleep?. they had a four year marketing bonanza sitting there on their desk and they failed massively to exploit it. that is now being used to shield them and the public/fans the sad truth. they do not know what to do otherwise they would’ve done it. a smokescreen and the media have been too timid to ask the right questions. far easier to dump on red bull after all they are only a ‘fizzy drinks company’. what a joke. that little ole drinks company have put the frighteners through the old establishment and they are running away from any competition.

    • Great post, thanks for putting things in perspective. I hope Renault starts being serious about the whole thing soon.

  4. This piece is incoherent drivel. That F1 can get by quite nicely with RBR, and both RBR & Mercedes are in it for the marketing value is shatteringly obvious. Your point is…?
    Careful with those pills.
    Btw, (I am not a Ferrari fan) Ferrari may also be there for the marketing value but it’s more complicated for Ferrari than that. They’ve never pulled out and come back; they’ve always been there. Ferrari and F1 are intertwined. Now, a deep meditation on that relationship…THAT’s a worthwhile article.
    * NB: It will be a shame if F1 loses those clever chaps in MK though.

  5. Seems like the judge has shaken the hornets nest with this article.

    Conclusion, the judge is back on form (that’s if he was ever off in the first place)

    • And a lot of people are missing the point…

      For the first few seasons after Merc took over Brawn they didn’t do so well. Not badly but not dominating. Did they moan? Did they threaten to pull out?

      No, the worked, rebuilt, designed a top notch car and powertrain and are now dominating.

      When Mercedes dropped McLaren as their ‘works’ team, McLaren started to struggle, and the last few seasons have been terrible for them. Did they demand Merc give them better engines? No, they took the brave step of persuading another engine manufacturer to come in. It is proving painful but – as they have made clear – it is the only way to get back to the top as you never will as a customer of a works team.

      That is the difference. Neither expect to be handed it on a plate like Red Bull seem to be expecting. Both took the pain and rebuilt. Mercedes made it, McLaren may or may not.

      If Red Bull get their way then you might as well have a three-team formula as even the likes of McLaren and Williams are wasting their time, never mind Sauber, Haas, etc, etc. If a team can demand – and be give – the best of everything them where is the competition? It becomes a demonstration, no more.

      I guess one aspect we should maybe be considering here – does F1 work where someone can be both engine and car manufacturer? Would it work better if you could supply a car or a chassis but not both? Back in the day when there were 5 or 6 engines to choose from and fewer works teams it was OK, today with 4 engines, limited development and the best two engines tied up with a works team…

      • They did no threaten to pull out but the board of directors at Mercedes has considered to pull out.

      • DWII has been saying this about Red Bull for some time now and I don’t think people were paying attention or believed what he was saying.

        On numerous occasions he has stated that in the States Red Bull at the very last minute dropped athletes the moment there was a dip in form or pull out of events they felt weren’t benefitting their brand and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now.

        This is sports, irrespective of whether we agree that manufacturers are good for it or not, the original premis is the same, it’s sports. And as with any sport, there’ll be good and bad times and if you’re in it for the sporting aspect, then you ride out the storm. Maybe that’s something the 3 Chiefs at Red Bull should first understand.

        Red Bulls marketing foot print is so vast that I find it unbelievable that they’re using that as a reason to withdraw from the sport.

        I’m just wondering if they’ll do the same in the Aussie V8 series, because it looks as if Jamie Whincup’s domination as champion is coming to an end and if he continues to play second fiddle to the Pepsi Max Ford of Winterbottom? Will they do the same if Ogier starts to falter with VW in the WRC or Audi in DTM?

        Personally I think they’re setting a very bad precedence with the reasons for their withdrawal.

        • Red Bull quit NASCAR when they couldn’t win. They dump sport and athletes like they’re Toro Rosso drivers. Look what happened to Shaun White when he wanted some say in his life.
          Red Bull use to be big “sponsors” of skateboarding in North America. At top level amateur competitions, they’d sponsor, 30 degree C, outdoor concrete skate parks (you can imagine how tough it is for the athletes) no toilets, water or food concessions, just iced coolers of Red Bull everywhere…free. Not one moments thought to competitors or spectators, like the cigarette companies they are just there to find consumers they can hook for life. Sport is just a disposable tool to Red Bull. If Ecclestone didn’t have the $500M grip on their short and curlys, they would be gone.
          I’m glad to see Red Bull in this position, it’s a little payback for all the people/organizations they have crushed through their “marketing”. Garbage product, garbage company.

        • The issue is with all those other endeavors they are merely the sponsor. And their input and their cash is a lot less than what it is in Formula 1. If Red Bull pulls the sponsorship from Whincup somebody more than likely steps in to sponsor his team. Same for VW and Ogier. In F1 it is a very different story.

      • “I guess one aspect we should maybe be considering here – does F1 work where someone can be both engine and car manufacturer? Would it work better if you could supply a car or a chassis but not both?”

        The problem is Ferrari

        • So, you could argue that it is Ferrari, not Red Bull who are responsible for the current state of F1?
          😉

          It’s a complex issue. If there were more engine suppliers then it wouldn’t be a problem. Few suppliers, many cars running the same engine, cars with the best engine tend to dominate.

          Couple that with restrictive rules on development and you are always going to get one or more ‘top’ teams who don’t have one of the best engines.

          Personally, I think there are two paths out of this, neither of which will be popular in some quarters.

          Either you separate engine suppliers from constructors, or you cap the amount which can be spent on engine development.

          The former won’t sit well with Ferrari, Mercedes would need to decide if they are happy to go back to just being an engine supplier.

          For the latter to work, the cap needs to be based on results but you still get questions as to how fair it is as it means one team can’t dominate for more than a season or two.

          It could work within the scope of the tokens system actually. You get say 100 tokens. For each win you lose 5, for each 2nd place you lose 3, for each 3rd place you lose 1. Mercedes will end up with very few by the year end. Honda would have all 100 remaining!

          Another thought I’d had, watching the BTCC over the weekend. They have a ‘TOCA’ engine – teams can run their own, or buy one in from the series organiser. Maybe FOM could bung a hundred million towards Cosworth and offer teams the engine in exchange for getting say £20m TV money less per year. It would at least ensure the lower teams can get an engine at a sensible price while reducing the income of the engine manufacturers so limiting what they have to spend on upgrades. Maybe have different engine specs, the ‘FOM’ engine could be large displacement, or naturally aspirated but aim to keep it on par with the works engines. Ideally you’d have something that could be turned up to level things out as the manufacturers develop.

      • Mercedes definitely threatened to pull out. Twice.

        When there was talk of delaying the new PU adoption Mercedes threatened. When they were caught red handed with secret tire tests they threatened to quit if the sanctions were too strong.

        Also, Mercedes put their head down and built a great chassis? You know who else put thier head down a built a great chassis? Red bull, they did this while thier engine partner did nothing, developed nothing, shared nothing, well, you get the point.

      • Sure! As always when there are lots of participants, lots of us miss the point 😉
        1) Mercedes now wins because of an engine which is 2 years ahead of all others and probably, I repeat, probably, because it has spent 4 times as much on it. Not because John Owen became a genius overnight and started then the design of the W5. Ross Brawn deserves credit for creating a very solid team and Mr Name Unknown deserves credit for opening the vault for Andy Cowell at Brixworth. 2) McLaren won their last constructor’s title in 1998 and their last pilot’s title in 2008. They did not start to struggle when Merc left. 3) As to your question “Would it work better if you could supply a car or a chassis but not both?” We have to face it : Ferrari has been there doing both since day 1. So please! Let’s forget that question and move on. Max Mosley not long ago tried to increase the numbers of teams (and losers) by increasing the number of engine makes but it simply did not work (BTW, those were the days when he famously said that F1 does not need Ferrari, and shortly after that had to take early retirement…) Today’s engines are so expensive that it made Cosworth disappear, not to mention John Judd, Motori Moderni and few others.

        • There was nothing stopping Ferrari especially spending as much and having as much time to develop an engine. Honda could have resisted the pressure from McLaren to come in a season early and carried on developing until they had a serious engine to offer.

          Merc got on with it and did a good job.

          I know McLaren haven’t had much title success recently but they’ve had wins and reasonable title finishes. Things have dropped off a lot since Merc left but it depends what you mean by struggle. They’ve had poor years but nothing like they are suffering now.

          I really can’t see your logic on 3… One team has failed to consistently marry engine and chassis over a long period of time so the same logic will apply to any team who does so?

          A lot depends on the context and competition. Ferrari have usually had plenty of competition – and often poor management – so haven’t often dominated. The situation we have now is unprecedented in recent F1 history. When did we last have so few engine suppliers, so high a percentage of engine supplies tied up by manufacturer teams and such a disparity between manufacturers and teams who obtain their engine from a third party, whether this be a factory team or a customer supply.

  6. F1 will survive without any team really, but surely what we all want is close(r) competition. Do you think whoever (if anyone at all) replaces RBR and STR will provide that? There is your answer as to whether the sport would be better or worse off without RBR.

    All I can say is that I hope you like watching more inept pay drivers.

  7. If any team were in the game just for the love of the competition, F1 is NOT the class for them. If you’re a mechanic, go to a one-design class such as any of the lower classes, if you’re an engineer go to LMP1 or any other class with less restrictions; or better yet, switch sports and get into sailing or rocket building. And last but not least, if you’re a driver that truly loves the competition, you should have never left kart racing.

    Lets be honest, the whole F1 system is rotten to the core. Most diehard fans like me can still try to ignore the problems and hold a tiny glimpse of hope that it will improve, but the truth is that the individual heroism we are all craving for is an illusion and either you’re in the winning car or you’re not. Period.

    Blaming Red Bull for this is backward thinking. And I think they deserve some credit for being the ONLY team in F1 that makes a serious attempt at bringing in talent. And even so, they get a lot of criticism for sidelining the Alguersuari’s and Vergne’s of this world, but at least Red Bull gave them a chance! If not for them, they would be on the big pile of smelling bodies of mega talent laying on F1’s doorstep, with Frijns, Magnussen, and soon Vandoorne and many others. Meanwhile teams like McLaren hand over multi million dollar salaries to veterans so they can fight with kids that earn 200.000 driving a car that was designed with the money they themselves brought to the team.

    I honestly hope Red Bull’s threat of making a new formula is true, although I have no illusions.

    • right on!
      regardless of the regs, I do not see Merc or Ferrari selling class A+ motors to a powerhouse such as Red Bull – not in 2016 or ever. if Renault buys Lotus, they may sorta have to supply them in 2016, but certainly won’t after that.
      Red Bull has 2 end game options beyond 2016. 1. tie up with an engine supplier such as Ilmore, Cosworth, AES (sic) to purchase or design as a bespoke unit if it is even possible to do that in 15 months. or 2. quit.
      and because nobody will sell them a P/U, they owe $ZERO penalty for not being allowed by the sport to fulfill their 2020 contract!
      and yes, if they are so inclined, Red Bull will shutter F1 with a new series

      unlike many, I see Red Bull as holding ALL the cards…

      • @titanracer I did hear that cosworth have a design that’s ready to go, Redbull could buy the rights and build their own but this will take time and sadly.. A s+#t load of money and for what? An engine which will probably change in 2017 so where is the logic. The sticking point with RB will be the exit costs and as previously mentioned, a buy out and going alone with Mr Horner at the helm could be a viable option maybe then the Ferrari unit will make sense

  8. Will F1 survive this transition into reality? If we are going to expand on this piece from the judge then staying in the matrix i will add,Temei Nostrae (know thyself) f1 has a problem with this at the moment as it really has lost its roots. It’s gone from, the pinnacle of motor sport to, the summit of slur. If we look at the modern model of F1 then sadly it’s all about marketing. It’s been along time since it was a sport as now we are left with something that resembles the WWE. Reading the past exploits of teams and drivers we hear how a driver gave up his car so his team mate could win the championship, we remember how when one team had a downed engine the whole pit lane came together with spares just so they could have a race. It’s forgotten that racing was just about having a good time after the black years of ww2 and how old airfields,who’s Tarmac had b17’s and lancasters just months before,taking to the skies to drop misery on a beaten people now had their hero’s racing for national pride. F1 pushed design and ideas and brought car saftey to the world..now what has it become? A shadow of its former self and the laughing stock of the engineering world. We have tracks that fail to push the drivers and teams just in it for exposure. So…know thyself..its simple MrE. Let’ a sport be just that,a sport,not a global platform. Don’t try to bring about world peace,just try to bring harmony to your corner of it. As for Redbull..I can’t blame them, they came into the sport for one reason and made no bones about it,however they do throw their dummy out when times are hard and hurl threats about leaving if they don’t get their way but who do we have to blame for this?..as with parenting you can’t blame the kids if they have a paddy, its how they get raised and sadly MrE and co have raised a brat.

    • Which makes me see the situation more as a case of parents’ diktat to a child who’s outgrown the nest that they need to get a place on their own (RedBull’s own series).

      • Trouble is,and I think the judge nudged on this, like the ill fated A1 series any new race will have the might of F1 to contend with. MrE has locked many of the track gates to stop any pretenders to the throne and sadly Redbull,as big as they are, just won’t have the pulling power.I watch F1 for the different solutions teams have with a given set of rules,if I wanted to watch a generic car run around a track there are so many to choose from,gp2 formula Ford and such. I watch WEC for the same reason, I love the cars,love the ideas and love the racing,I just wish F1 would give the teams some space to truely fly

  9. Awesome Judge, so the scenario is, 3 car teams when both Red bull teams are withdrawn.
    Let me make a rough prediction of all future race results if this was to happen (barring breakdowns) :-
    1st – L.Hamilton – Mercedes
    2nd – N.Rosberg – Mercedes
    3rd – A.N.Other – Mercedes
    4th – S.Vettel – Ferrari
    5th – V.Bottas – Williams
    6th – F.Massa – Williams
    7th – K.Raikkonen – Ferrari
    8th – A.N.Other – Williams
    9th – A.N.Other – Ferrari
    WOW can’t wait – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – Wake me up with a pill when the nightmare is over !!!!

    • And then when Mercedes pull out, as they 100% will at some point just as Toyota, Honda and Jaguar have done in the past, what then?

      For someone who’s watched F1 for 40 years judge it’s disappointing to see such a poorly written article.

      As others have said I used to come here frequently to read some of the scoops, but the editorial content is appalling.

  10. In 2009 Mercedes almost withdrew from F1 because the cost/benefit was borderline. It came to a board of directors vote which was 3 to 2 to stay in.
    How is this any different from Toyota, BMW, Honda or RB reasons for being involved with F1?

    • Because Merc didn’t go around in public demanding they be given something or they’d take their ball home.

      A team withdrawing because it isn’t worth it is one thing, demanding parity is another.

  11. This article is imho spot on.

    Red Bull and Mercedes are in F1 for the marketing purposes of F1. Ferrari is different because it started out as a racing team that sold cars to be able to race. Now the racing is their advertisement for the road cars as they don’t do advertising. Since they became part of FIAT their objective has changed somehow and their IPO may be more, but they still are in F1 for the racing and I don’t see them quitting when they don’t get results for a while.

    Teams like Williams and McLaren (and also Sauber and Force India) are in F1 to compete, to win, regardless of the marketing purposes. Although the marking of F1 is good for their sponsors and will attract sponsors and thus allows them to race. Although McLaren do sell cars, their primary objective is to race and to win. These teams will stay in F1 regardless of the results (as long as they can survive) in hope of better times where they can win again. Because competing is in their blood.

    Teams like Red Bull and Mercedes will not wait that long before pulling out because of lack of results. Look at Honda, Toyota and BMW. They pulled out because of lack of results and not getting the return of investment they hoped for.
    I don’t see Red Bull or Mercedes staying in F1 for 20 years either without winning races or championships like Ferrari did. Or Williams for the past 10 years before last year.

    • Williams is not in f1 to win. They have a Mercedes power unit and will not be allowed to compete for the championship, just an odd pole or win every once and a while.

      You support a team like that? I support teams for whom winning is the only thing that matters. I even support Mercedes for keeping teams like Williams down. If Williams is to stupid to realize their own position then they deserve 5th place.

      They seem pretty happy with 5th place though so my guess is they are no longer worried about winning.

      • Williams realise at the moment they don’t have the option to win. There aren’t a queue of manufacturers lined up to come in to F1 and you are never going to be allowed to beat the engine supplier.

        They have the ability to finish in the top 3 or 4, that brings in the money for them to invest and rebuild to the point where more manufacturers are looking to come in they can go back to having a works supply.

        Personally, I think Red Bull – at the moment – would do a better job with the Merc unit than Williams do, but Williams have come a long way from the Cosworth and Renault years when they could not build a car for toffee.

        A racing team like Williams can undertake this rebuilding as their aim is to compete in F1 and win in the long term.

        Red Bull can’t do this and in some ways their mistake was to buy a team rather than bankroll one.

      • I find it odd to criticise Williams for being in F1. What are you trying to say? Nobody should consider F1 as a sport, and compete to get as far ahead as they can (even if it’s not first)?

        What is F1 for you?

      • Williams are racers, it pervades the place. They are in the process of turning the ship around, a process Adam Parr began. Pragmatically Williams are doing what they have to do in order to survive and if the opportunity presents itself they will grab it with both hands. Are they happy with being 5th ? Not in the slightest. Williams have been here before, people forget just how much Williams struggled, were in contention to win, lost engine deals to other teams before Newey arrived and they had that period of utter domination. Which can be fleeting, something Red Bull appear not to understand.

        It should also be said, Mercedes would likely not be in the position they are in now if not for Ross Brawn’s strategic planning, hiring the right people (including Lewis) and changing direction when required. We’ll see how strong Mercedes is going forward when the other Manufacturers eventually catch up.

      • Boo. You apparently forgot the beautiful innovations Williams brought to F1, crushed the competition with, and then were suddenly banned by the FIA as ‘no good for the show.’ Sometimes I wonder how the FW-14B would stack up against today’s Merc.

  12. Flawed argument… Positive marketing and winning are directly proportional to each other… 2nd place or worse is negative marketing. It is understandable that RB want to win as performance reflects upon the brand so the team must be in F1 to compete in order to achieve that and it is understandable that RB are frustrated with an underperforming engine supplier/partner… still underperforming after more than 2 full seasons development time. If RB simply wanted the marketing platform that F1 provides they would happily drive around the circuits with the Manor cars. RB obviously want the marketing benefits that come with winning so why would the team/DM be happy to invest another seasons budget with no prospect of winning. Mercedes are the final nail in the F1 coffin. The competition is now for 2nd place at best. I would also suggest that the current publicity being generated by RB is good publicity for them… if they are unable to acquire a competitive engine they cant compete and dont aspire to being 2nd best due to the shortcomings of either the politics of F1 or the politics of engine suppliers. Mercedes missed an opportunity to prove their might in motorsport and breathe some life into an uncompetitive and boring motorsport formula… how much benefit would the Mercedes brand have extracted from agreeing to supply RB with engines for 2016 and still winning the constructors championship.

    • well said wingnut. mercedes are saying that ‘we have very little confidence in our chassis builders’ as failure to provide RB proves. to think that a ‘fizzy drinks’ company could have such an effect on the mega billion Mercedes benz global juggernaut, just makes red bull and their team look so much better.

  13. “Rotten to the core” about sums it up. What’s wrong with F1 is, firstly, the technical specifications for both cars and engines, secondly the entire financial ownership model, and thirdly the day-to-day administration of the sport. RB’s morals (not alone in this respect) are just a reflection of the overall degeneration.
    “Purity” vanished the day the first cigarette ads appeared on cars.
    The final nail was driven into the coffin of “sportsmanship” by Ayrton Senna, he of sainted memory.
    Nemesis surely follows in the wake of hubris.

  14. Lols 🙂

    Another rectally-derived missive from our favourite wearer of white wigs and black frocks. Nice one.

    Absent RBR, who’s the next whipping boy gonna be?

  15. According to Wiki, when Ford decided in 2004 to pull out of F1 and sell the Jaguar team to Red Bull, they said it was because they could “no longer make a compelling business case for any of its brands to compete in F1”.

    Looking at the stick Red Bull are getting in this article and given that Ford are a car maker, there’s a certain irony there!

    (Meanwhile I find it curious that everyone seems to be assuming the “teams” will simply cease to exist if Red Bull pull out rather than being sold on. Racing may not be “in Red Bull’s DNA”, but surely the same is not true for what was Stewart/Ford/Jaguar and Minardi? Whether there would be a buyer might be a good question, but it’s not one I see anyone asking?)

    • Good points Phil, but the RB hierarchy have intimated they will deploy their workforce on other projects – there’s no talk of them selling

      • They’ll all get redeployed driving those Minis with the massive can of RedBull sticking out of the back.

      • The question is, though, what are those projects?

        Skilled engineers and designers won’t be happy doing menial tasks – they’ll jump ship to other F1 teams which will in turn displace staff from those outfits so I’m sure there will be job losses somewhere down the line.

        You’ve also got to look at suppliers – I know RB do a lot of work in-house but there will be outside suppliers who will suffer.

        Also, is there anything Red Bull Technology supplies as a ‘spec’ part? I’m sure I’d read there was something they did – part of the crash structure?

  16. A quote from Wolff as posted on Skysports
    “Red Bull is a very hip brand. [We wondered] is there in any way we can make that work so that Mercedes benefits from an association with Red Bull on the road car side with joint platforms so we can afford to dilute our success in Formula 1?”
    If true then the argument that Merc is “afraid to compete” does not hold up. They would have given up a measure of success in exchange for off track deal. Too bad this didn’t work out

    • @ biondi…i also read that but it appears to be a red herring as no one has picked it up and given it traction. until more is forthcoming i would see it a mercedes inspired distraction.

    • It still basically means they’re afraid to compete, just that if they can offset the loss of their domination with other off-track benefits they could perhaps justify it as a business. It’s basically a matter of a cost-benefit analysis to determine how to maximise their return from F1. As has been said, Merc are in it for the marketing value. If the value lost by coming 2nd to Red Bull-Mercedes can be outweighed by a greater marketing gain elsewhere, that’s what they’ll do. Evidently they feel continuing to dominate F1 with their own team gives them a greater return.

      • Basically, Mercedes and Red Bull want to champion or they might be gone. Mercedes are doing exactly what they got upset at Red Bull for during their years of domination-doing everything that they can to protect their advantage.

        Between the competition to maintain the competitive and marketing advantage and Bernie acting like a pimp and using F1 as his hooker and taking it to some shady destinations, at some point people are going to start coming home in body bags because someone with no morals who Bernie has screwed over will retaliate against him by harming his hooker (F1) in some way.

  17. What about bringing the sport into disrepute? Todt could kick them out for that (if he were someone else who actually got stuff done).

    • If Todt were to kick them out for that, Red Bull could go public with all of the details regarding the backroom deals and corruption in Formula 1.

  18. @thejudge13.

    Interesting article. If – “all publicity is good publicity”, then Red Bull PR department have nothing to complain about. Mercedes must be really annoyed. While Lewis and Mercedes have been winning, and should have got most of the publicity, they have been matched by the whingeing and threats from the Red Bull PR machine. An undeserved degree of success out of failure? If you look at some of the media, you could believe that Red Bull is the only F1 story.

  19. hahaha…..they are. mercedes are regurgitating as their championships are to all intents and purposes ‘hollow’. they only really race themselves and where’s the sport in that?

  20. It has been a well known fact for many years now that Dietrich M. insists that there be harmony on Red Bull Racing financials and that it pay for itself or else there would have to be a serious rethink about their involvement in the sport. Finishing 4th or 5th in the standings probably will not bring harmony on the financials or allow the team to pay for itself. The team will end up running a deficit at some point and Dietrich M. won’t throw his cash into the wind tunnel that is F1 for long.

    • That’s nonsense. They’re already receiving a substantial payment from Bernie even before finishing position is considered. And are you also forgetting that they’ve got more sponsors than any other team on the grid right now?

      I’d hazard a guess that since Red Bull begun winning regularly, he has not had to dip into his pocket for a cent.

      That was a preconceived excuse for any eventual situation that arises such as this, so that they can use it as their reason to walk.

  21. Beautiful article! I read it 3 times in a row! And BTW, I fully agree. No-one should enter F1 and pretend that the sport “has to provide a return”. Does McLaren’s 9th position in constructor’s ranking of this year “provide a return”? The answer is : probably not! Or if it does, it’s a lousy one. Even Ferrari at some stage had to bite the dust for a staggering 21 consecutive years, which included a very bad return (the fact that they still managed to sell dream cars during that period is another subject altogether). I don’t think this marketing prose originated in Christian Horner’s mind. I have no doubt that it comes from Mateschitz himself. And although he seems to be a very low key person such a behaviour is very arrogant. The drinks company’s management, including the very wise Dr. Helmut, should look themselves in the mirror and cry out loud : They don’t want to give us (winning) engines and we FULLY DESERVE IT! The sport does not provide a guaranteed return? Go and look elsewhere for it.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Not only does F1 not guarantee a return – it usually guarantees you leave with less than when you came in.

  22. All I can see is a petulant child who was allowed to cheat to maintain dominance, due to fia illusion that this child (RB) could attract gen yolo into F1 through their clever marketing. The truth is, we don’t need em, and Vettel ain’t all that, ask Dan the man!

  23. I really hope they leave, I am sick to the back teeth of them, when Williams where winning in the 90’s it was always Williams-Renault, it was always the partnership that won, but Red Bull took all the glory and then when the road became a bit rocky threw their toys out of the pram and blamed Renault, they way they slagged them off was disgusting and I hope Renault say no to them.

  24. Once Renault get themselves sorted than they can concentrate on building a strong power unit. There is too much chaos that Viry right now. The Lotus purchase keeps moving along but isn’t at resolution yet. There were some problems with their test benches at one point.

    Renault needs to have a clear vision of what the manufacturer wants its presence in Formula 1 to be. Once that has been sorted, they will have success again. Red Bull and Renault just isn’t a good marriage.

    Also, Formula 1 wouldn’t miss Red Bull and Toro Rosso as much if there was a more competitive, healthy grid. It would be nice to see Williams, Sauber, and McLaren get a few more podium finishes.

    It would be great if the V8s came back because the balance of power might be evened out. Also, get rid of some of the aero bits (a more simplified front and rear wing).

    If a more competitive grid is achieved, Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s exit impact might not be felt as much.

    An new teams thinking about entering Formula 1 should talk to Sir Frank Williams. The teams has had its ups and downs through the years but has stayed competitive.

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