F1 teams indifferent to Red Bull’s threats


There’s an old fable about a boy in a European village who repeatedly tricks nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock. When a real life wolf actually attacks the boy’s flock of sheep, the villagers believe that it is another false alarm and the sheep are eaten by the wolf.

There are those in the paddock who are adamant Red Bull are crying Wolf with their threats to leave Formula One, but there is also growing feeling that whilst Mateschitz may fulfil his threats – who cares?

Speaking on a Sky Sports #AskCrofty special at the weekend, Monisha Kaltenborn called on the former world champions to cease from their public complaints. Sauber of course were the team with whom Red Bull had their first F1 relationship as Kaltenborn explains.

“We have had a long history with them because we got them into the sport and had 10 years cooperation,” she said. “But if you look at the last few years, they have really been getting away with so much which is not in agreement with the others, to answer the question, I think they have to live with what they get now. We’ve done that for so many years so why can’t they now?”

Monisha concludes, “They have changed a lot, maybe success has made them change that much.”

Of course the spectre of a diminished grid for 2016 is the fear of most F1 fans, and the loss of Red Bull and Toro Rosso would see just 18 cars start the first race in Melbourne. Yet Toto Wolff is unconcerned about the Red Bull threat of imminent departure. “We have crunched the numbers and I wouldn’t want to quote them officially, but all the teams were asked to look at the numbers a while ago and it is all pretty similar, so financially viable.”

“If it were the case some high-level people in Red Bull decided to pull out, a contingency plan would be to have three cars, so I don’t see a scenario of having 18 cars being realistic.

Pat Symonds is philosophical about the Red Bull hokey cokey. “It is a difficult situation for them and maybe they haven’t handled it was well as they might have done and I’m sure that is what is antagonising some fans. I remember my father used to say ‘when you lose say nothing and when you win say even less’ and maybe that is a motto we should all abide by.”

Even Bernie Ecclestone’s patience appears to be wearing thin with the fizzy drinks magnate. He tells the Independent Red Bull will face legal action if the quit Formula One. “Red Bull would stand up in court and say: ‘Yes, we have a commitment, we do, but we haven’t got an engine. My argument would be: ‘You signed the contract to compete.

“You should have made sure when you signed the contract that you had an engine. Your team was supposed to do this.'”

Well Red Bull have found themselves in the same position as many a customer team before them – without a winning engine. There is now just over a week before the self-imposed deadline set by Mateschitz to organise a competitive engine for 2016. The big question is – what will he decide?

On offer this weekend is the long awaited in season ‘upgrade’ engine from Renault. Autosport report, “The Renault updates are focused on the internal combustion engine (ICE), with some changes made to the turbo, all of which form part of the French manufacturer’s preparations for 2016. It is understood the Austin update has been validated, having completed a full cycle on the dyno to sign it off for reliability”.

Whilst having 12 tokens available, it is believed Renault have used just 9. So will the Red Bull management take this new power unit to see whether its capabilities can entice Mateschitz to stay in F1? If Red Bull do take these engines, the drivers will suffer grid penalties having already exceeded their engine allowance for the year.

36 responses to “F1 teams indifferent to Red Bull’s threats

  1. ‘when you lose say nothing and when you win say even less’

    Feeling the love for Red Bull from the other teams all right 🙂

    Given the situation, if the Bullies decide to not even try the latest Renault I would have to take that as a ‘bye now, see you in court on the way out’ from the Bulls – surely even they’ve grasped it’s Renault or bust now.

    • This latest move from Renault, offering RB the use of their latest 11 token upgraded power unit is nothing but Renault’s latest squeeze on RB’S balls, while they (RB) are still so arrogantly blocking the formula 1 out-door undecided if they will step back-in or out the door.

  2. I’m not sure that MattersShitz (ref: Oddball … Well I think it was him 😉) would want to go toe to toe in court with a man who bribed his way out of a bribery charge and has more lives than a cat.

    It was interesting that on the #AskCrofty segment, they ran a pole asking if Red Bull would be missed and interestingly 60+% voted yes. That’s probably the only pole I’ve seen where so many people were on their side.

    • Well, I would miss the Red Bulls too. Part of that is certainly because I’m from Austria and feel a certain kinship to Mateschitz and the sports empire he built around his brand. But it is also a very important part of the recent Formula 1 history. Being the last team to win four championships in a row within the last ten years and then withdrawing from the sport so soon afterwards, that would leave a bad taste in my mouse.

      I can believe all that, no matter how much I think Red Bull deserves the current troubles they find themselves in. But enough said about that.

      • Oh dear, funny typo. It would certainly leave a bad taste in my “mouth”. I only have a cat, who would probably enjoy eating the mouse 😉

    • I guess they will miss the drama Red Bull brings to the table either when they are winning or losing. If Red Bull do quit, how long until a team entices Adrian Newey (assuming Newey gets the F1 bug again) back into the Sport and how much will they have to pay to get him out of whatever contract he’s tied to at Red Bull ? I wonder if Prod saw the writing on the wall and that’s part of why he jumped ship to McLaren ?

      Same old Red Bull though – Bully to get what they want, only this time Mercedes and Ferrari have pretty much laughed in their faces and said “No, but you can have this mint condition 2015 power unit. Very few miles on the clock”. F1 has bigger challenges than Red Bull leaving the sport and tbh it’s a bit of a sideshow. Of course the Red Bull owner could leave the sport, wait for the EU ruling to go against Bernie and co, then swoop into snap up the F1 commercial rights on the cheap. I think I may have a tinfoil hat on my head….

    • I wouldn’t say being missed is the same as care if they go. I believe they will be missed, but I don’t care if they go. It’s no different then Toyota, Honda and BMW quitting because they couldn’t win; well it is different in that there is a lot more whining where Red Bull is concerned.

  3. Well, considering we had what seemed like scads of people feeling the effects of a few cans of Red Bull trashing TJ’s, 15 October Red Bull article, I expected there to already be a slew of knee-jerk defenses of the “Fizzy-Fizzy, mix with Vodka – yum,” company.

    It will certainly be interesting to see if those readers who so ardently defended RB five days ago as if they were employees of the company now turn and trash the F1 teams. One would think that, if supporters of yet another attempt by Red Bull to kidnap a sport and hold it ransom are correct in their 15 October defenses, teams would be climbing the walls to keep Red Bull in F1 (and do please refrain from explaining away the teams’ collective indifference by claiming that four less RB-sponsored cars means better results for them).

    Again, I will aver that Red Bull has acted in exactly the same manner with everything and everyone it touches that does not fully capitulate to the company’s deal with the devil demands.

  4. Red Bull in or out, who cares, But they do not appear to want to sell the teams and absolutely not let someone run RBR independendly. I will not miss Red Bull, bit I will miss two teams. Especially if that means that there will be a three car Mercedes and Ferrari team on the grid. If those cars fill the first 6 grid positions every race I will really loose interest. And this is not new. I really like WEC/LeMans, but what I don’t like about that are 3 car Audi and Porsche teams. So you have the risk of a full Audi podium (or whomever decides to run three cars). Renault better come up with something good.

  5. Please leave and set up a competing series. If that is better than F1, fans will switch across.

    I was more an F1 fan than MotoGP.

    But this year I’ve been following more of MotoGP. This weekend’s Philip Island 4 way Marquez, Lorenzo, Innone, Rossi battle will be a treasured memory for a long time. Awesome.

    F1 fans badly need their sport to be reinvigorated. Existing power brokers with vested interests are not going to do it.

    Red Bull – please leave and try building a better F1 than the rubbish we have today. F1 should be “the pinnacle of motorsport”. Not today’s “fuel save, tyre save, strangled tech development” myopic complexity of nonsense.

    Red Bull pouring more money into this nonsense is a waste. Spend it on an opportunity with greater potential.

    • The problem with a Red Bull series is that they would only run it until they were tired of playing and then they would quit. That is there modus operandi.

    • F1 could take a lesson on how racing should be, the riders of those machines are absolutely off their nuts, do you think an F1 super star would race a week after a major spill and a plated shoulder? I did wonder if MrE would run a two level race series, one for the major proto types and the second for the stock motors and limited funds just like motogp, they did it when the turbos first appeared so why not now?

    • If you only allow your ‘superficial taste’ to work, RB is ok. Just like coca cola, McDonald’s, KFC or any other ‘modern’ food ie beverage. They’re designed to deliver as much sugar as they can without you noticing. They draw billions of people towards shite. But who eats an apple? Or some bitter vegetable? Acquired tastes aren’t acquired anymore.

      Same for F1.

  6. I don’t think Red Bull’s situation is at all comparable with Sauber (or Force India) so just accepting an uncompetitive engine woud in my view only work if Red Bull changes their size and budget accordingly. Red Bull’s current budget is big enough to support a race winning team and the budget reflects the amount of brand coverage that Red Bull expect to get from F1. If you know you’re not going to be fighting for the championship you also know you won’t get the brand coverage that reflects the size of your budget so that would mean Red Bull will have to size down or just stop. I suspect that Mr. Matteschitz will see sizing down as admitting defeat and don’t want to do that and that makes the stopping option, in my view, still the most likely outcome. Red Bull is owned by a sponsor, unlike Sauber and Force India, and if the people in F1 don’t care how that influences decisions about competitiveness because they are not in that situation than it is proof that they don’t want to understand the reasoning behind Red Bull’s standpoint. Which is their right but it does make the kind of statements made by Ms Kaltenborn rather hollow. If Red Bull does leave, e.g. by doing a Brawn by selling to Horner, than yes I would agree with Ms Kaltenborn that the new owner should accept whatever is available.

    What I find more worrying when I read these statements from various teams is that they clearly do not realize how Red Bull leaving could have an impact on them… First of all teams have to realize that Red Bull does by far the most promotional activities from any team and the reason is simple Red Bull is the only team that always says yes when asked by Bernie, are the other teams prepared to step in this void and if not are they prepared to make F1 less popular than it already is because they are not prepared to fill in the void left by Red Bull? (It is unrealistic to think FOM will step in and make sure F1 is properly advertised) And when you look at the various junior programmes than the Red Bull version is far more advanced than the Merc, Ferrari and McLaren versions and F1 does not have something as smart as what IndyCar has to ensure the most talented driver from the support series gets a drive. How likely is it that any team that comes in to replace Red Bull is going to have a similar driver policy…

    Just to be clear as an F1 fan I wouldn’t mind if Red Bull is no longer part of F1 because like everyone else I’m not too excited about Red Bull’s policy of being brutally honest in their public communication. But I would prefer that it happens when F1 as a sport is no longer so dependant on the advertising and promotional activities that Red Bull does for F1. If F1 had an assured path to F1 for the most talented drivers in the support categories and F1 had an advertising strategy that does not depend on the willingness of teams and tracks to promote F1 I would be partying with everyone else but now I’m worried about the uncertainties left behind when such a big and influential team as Red Bull are kicked out.

    • I am consistently astounded by people who maintain that the teams within a sport fail to realize the impact of anything regarding their sports. Lobbing that sort of criticism at F1 teams is tantamount to saying competitors within a given field have no clue as to the impact of their competitors. This would have us believe F1 teams do not know: Basic Business Rules. Rule #1: KNOW YOUR COMPETITION. Rule #2: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Rule #3: See rules #1 and #2 before proceeding to do anything else.

      Red Bull says “yes” only as long as the game is tilted in their favor (I’m sorry, I really dislike doing this with Red Bull over and over but…).

      Here’s yet another example of how Red Bull works: At the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film, and Tech festival/conference last year, Red Bull demanded full block street space to promote itself. It did so under the guise of exclusively showing bands Austin and the state of Texas.

      To accomplish this RB wanted to block off a street pivotal to the festival’s walking and emergency traffic. When city officials initially balked at the idea, Red Bull said they’d pull all their advertising from the Festival. But if the city council said yes, they would provide additional support for sites other than their own – free of charge. With this compromise, the city council, against the wishes of the local police, granted Red Bull the street space.

      As a result three things happened: 1) a downtown police car chase led to the criminals turning to go down the one street always open during SXSW… the very street Red Bull be blocked off blocked off. The police, unable to approach the scene from the opposite direction thanks to Red Bull, were helpless to do anything other than follow the car —– right into a sea of at least 1000 people. Though the criminals were forced to slow down there was one hit by car fatality and many, many hit by cars injuries. Red Bull categorically refused to take any blame for the tragic events and the local press went about, predictably, taking only anti-police and pro-police stances. When any blame was attempted to be placed at the feet of Red Bull, it was quickly squashed by news editors and tv news producers; 2) at the events for which Red Bull provided additional support, they placed their brand in the form of banners and stickers in every available nook and cranny possible – often obscuring the primary sponsor’s advertisements. Additionally, RB took the opportunity to provide “added support” in areas where support wasn’t needed… all so they could again usurp the companies sponsoring the actual events, and 3) That thing about highlighting local bands? As soon as they got the go-ahead, Red Bull announced a schedule that included national, Red Bull-sponsored, acts.

      This is how Red Bull does business. This is how they’re doing F1 right now.

      Fizzy-fizzy, mix with vodka – yum… huh???

        • SWSX SUCKS. It’s for yuppy hipsters that pretend to be on the cutting edge of… Something, I don’t know.

          Only tools goto it. The musicians only go because they get paid, not its cultural relevancy. SXSW is one giant advertisement, they’re is nothing new there, ever. You want to see relevant technology/music festivals you have to goto ones that aren’t big enough for companies like red bull to advertise at. Most of these are in SOMA San Francisco (the new Silicon Valley) or Eastern Europe. ADE in Amsterdam is quit good too.

          Btw, you’re seriously blaming red bull for a criminal act out of their hands? Then you complain that red bull advertised at a fucking festival? Have you ever been in public? Red bull is a PR company first – drinks second.

          Who do you work for? Coke? Mercedes? The city of austin? Austin police? Let’s have a little transparency.

          • Layercake- Seriously?! I was an artist who was asked to participate in SXSW. I didn’t get paid and neither did any of the other spoken word poets in the portion of the festival in which I participated. What’ll be your response to that – we weren’t relevant enough though 2001 was the height of spoken word being commercialized???

            Seriously?! SXSW in 2001: passes were cheap; the general public, i.e. people of Austin, had access to 75% of the events. It was the first year technology was even talked about in any meaningful way at SXSW. So-called “stars” of their fields walked down streets during SXSW just like every other person attending. I know the evolution of SXSW, what it was and what it’s become. And your very uninformed view from nowhere is completely inaccurate.

            Seriously?! SOMA?!?! Did you even know that “relevant” festival-having SF attempted to emulate a burgeoning festival called South by Southwest in 1993 when they held the second North by Northwest – the first NXNW being in —- Seattle?!

            Seriously?! SOMA isn’t “big enough” for Red Bull?!?! Dude, or woman, Red Bull advertises at local snowboard and skateboard events every frigging day! I’ve detailed this here in earlier comments about Red Bull. I lived in Burlington, Vt. and helped a snow-skate shop put on events highlighting local snow and skate talent. The FIRST company they approached and the FIRST to say yes was —– Red Bull.

            Transparency?! Hmmmm, from your completely off-base comment that is illustrative of how being uninformed manifests itself in human thought, it would be easy to go in another direction and ask —- do you work for Red Bull???

            If you do work for Red Bull, I get your completely untrue rant. If not —– see the above paragraph, specifically the first part about how being uninformed manifests itself.

            Which is it?… let’s have a little transparency.

    • “What I find more worrying when I read these statements from various teams is that they clearly do not realize how Red Bull leaving could have an impact on them… First of all teams have to realize that Red Bull does by far the most promotional activities from any team and the reason is simple Red Bull is the only team that always says yes when asked by Bernie, are the other teams prepared to step in this void and if not are they prepared to make F1 less popular than it already is because they are not prepared to fill in the void left by Red Bull?”…

      Really? You think they’re doing all that for the benefit of F1? Gimme a break, that’s only for Red Bull. I’m sure if you turn up to one of those promotional events, the only merchandise you’ll find are Red Bull branded, I’m sure you won’t see anything promoting F1.

      Furthermore, do you think they’re doing it for free? I’m sure Bernie has thrown a few million their way.

    • Well said. You add another perspective to the discussion, where I mentioned the money (!) earlier when the poll was up.
      RB + TR are 4 cars, around 500 million dollar investment per year, 4 exciting young prospects and now you add: promotion.

      And they’re arseholes. I can name a few others in the sp -Bernie – ort.

    • Great contribution – though
      RB are paid for the promotions they do
      Also, young driver programmes are not so important to F1 given the current lack of available seats…

  7. I would miss the RBs, but I would lament the loss of TR for their longevity. I wouldn’t miss the RB management. I still miss Caterham.

    • I’m the opposite.
      Caterham are completely missable.
      Not so their management. Gasbag, Big Tony (always a laugh or two with him around) Ccccyril. Memories are made by twats.

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