Red Bull CEO Dietrich Mateschitz has threatened to pull out of Formula 1 again, unless engines partners Renault catches rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.
After four successive title doubles, Red Bull’s rein at the top came to an end last season when Mercedes positioned itself as F1’s new pace setters. The key to Merc’s advantage was the new V6 hybrid power unit which produced at least 80 more horses than its French counterpart.
2015 season brought new hope for the Milton Keynes based outfit who expected Renault to make major leaps over the winter. However, the French manufacturer instead moved backwards and was overtaken by Ferrari as the second best engine on the grid.
To compound their problems further, Red Bull themselves failed to produce a competitive chassis and finds themselves sixth in the standings, behind sister team Toro Rosso.
In such circumstances, Red Bull’s global chief Mateschitz has warned that his squad can’t stay in Formula 1 forever.
"We will only stay in Formula 1 if we have a competitive team, and we need a competitive power unit for that," Mateschitz was quoted by the Austria Press agency. If we don't have one, we can race with the best car and the best drivers and still have no chance of competing for victory.
"We are not a car manufacturer who could justify the investment. So we rely on Renault to close the gap to Ferrari and, above all, Mercedes. If the cost-benefit calculation isn't right anymore, it's not to say that we'll continue forever."
If Red Bull departs from Formula 1, its engine partner Renault will have to search for other teams in the paddock to supply its power unit. It currently sells its engines to the flagship Red Bull outfit as well as its junior squad Toro Rosso.
"Of course Renault can also weigh its options, including pulling out. As a manufacturer, it's your task to deliver a competitive power unit. If you can do that, it's great. If, for whatever reason, you can't do that, you should pull out. Then the consequences for us would be clear, too,’’ he added.