‘Disillusioned’ and ‘ready to quit’ was rhetoric attributed to the Red Bull Ringmaster – Dieter Mateschitz – in the run up to the 2015 Austrian GP. Since then on a number of occasions, the faithful Red Bull minion, Christian Horner, has advised us, “Dietrich does not speak very often, and when he does you have to sit up and take notice.” The message being clear, ‘Unless I get an engine I believe appropriately matched to the cars we produce, I will bugger off and take my two teams with me’.
Yet what was the reality of that ever happening?
There are some 800 employees in Milton Keynes, when you include the couple of hundred self-employed contractors. Mateschitz capital investment in RBR has been in the hundreds of millions and the skills of the majority of the staff at the factory are not easily converted from building racing car prototypes.
Horner described the lack of engine decision early in October as ‘cricital’ for the design of the 2016 RB12 car. Then Mateschitz listed an end of October deadline for this matter to be resolved otherwise his teams would be pulled from F1 in 2016. Today is November the 2nd.
The RBR team principal was asked about the supposed deadline during the Mexican GP, he revealed that the deadline had been ‘extended’ and that Honda are keen to deal with Red Bull.
“I think the situation is, Honda are very keen but unfortunately they have a contractual status that is between them and McLaren and has nothing to do with us,” said Horner. “It’s for them to decide amongst themselves what they want to do.”
“I haven’t spoken to anyone at McLaren other than Ron Dennis, who is the one guy who has the right of say there. His views were quite clear.”
The latest wheeze is that Renault may be asked to supply Red Bull with unbranded engines for 2016, presumably to save face in Milton Keynes. This is a ridiculous idea because every F1 fan knowns the pool of possible engines for next year is finite and known. That said, if this request has been made by Red bull, it appears they have not learned anyhting in the ‘not looking stupid’ stakes this year.
Things were ‘critical’ a month ago for RBR and their 2016 car and Horner now reveals the new DEFCON status in Milton Keynes. “At the moment we’re right on the limit to be at the first test. The team at Milton Keynes have demonstrated their abilities to work to massively tight deadlines and I’m sure we’d be able to meet whatever targets we need to, as we come to a decision in the next couple of weeks.”
Red Bull tell us they still have no 2016 engine, except of course the Renault engine they are contracted to acquire. And yet both Red Bull teams have not been pulled from Formula One – as per the threat of the ‘man of few words’ – to whom we all MUST listen.
When great, great,great grand pappy judge was riding out in the days of the wild west, he always used to counsel – ‘If you pull out your gun – be prepared to use it, or look a fool and then maybe wind up dead’.