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Mateschitz fires warning salvo

NEWS STORY
25/03/2014

Ahead of appeal hearing into his team's disqualification from the season opening Australian Grand Prix, Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has warned he could quit F1.

The days of the Formula Una girls a distant memory, the Austrian billionaire, who also owns the Toro Rosso team, has warned that if he feels the sport is heading in the wrong direction he would have to seriously consider his future in it.

Whilst many believe the fuel flow meter issue to be an open and shut case, with his team already on the back foot, this is a clear warning from a man who enjoys much influence within the sport but who has, thus far, not exerted it.

Asked under what circumstances he might leave F1, he told Austria's Kurier: "The question is not so much whether it makes economic sense but the reasons would be to do with sportsmanship, political influence, and so on. In these issues there is a clear limit to what we can accept."

Following four championship winning years, 2014 has got off to a pretty dreadful start, the Austrian team, like its fellow Renault users, clearly losing out to the Mercedes and Ferrari teams. While little was expected in Melbourne, Ricciardo's front-row qualifying performance and his podium winning drive next day gave the team cause for optimism. However, the subsequent row over fuel flow not only resulted in Ricciardo's disqualification, it also cast doubt on the team's integrity - not for the first time - and cavalier approach to the rules.

Aware, like most teams, of the issue with the meters, Red Bull ignored the FIA and came up with its own solution, a move which has not impressed the sport's governing body or rival teams.

Mateschitz, who despite the money he has poured into the sport has largely remained in the shadows, is also critical of the new formula.

You have to make F1 like it used to be - the top discipline of motorsports," he said. "F1 is not there to set new records in fuel consumption, nor to make it possible to have a whispered conversation during a race.

"It is absurd to race a lap seconds slower than last year. GP2 partially provides more racing and fighting and almost equal lap times as F1 with a small fraction of the budget."

While some might see his threat of withdrawal from the sport as the actions of a poor loser, many will concur with his thoughts on the direction in which the sport is heading.

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by gturner38, 27/03/2014 3:32

"The guy who refused to agree to a resource restriction, strayed way into the grey area regarding "third party" designs when Toro Rosso ran slightly modified RBR chassis then had no problem when the STR drivers were forced to move over for Vettel now wants to threaten to quit if they don't get their way (as opposed to the "political" teams getting theirs)? Nothing like a little hypocrisy in the paddock.

As for making F1 the top discipline in motorsports, it still is. The cars will still be the quickest cars racing this year. While they don't make the noise they used to, that's secondary to the racing. Noise is all about the show. It has nothing to do with competition, and on the competition front, how many times have we heard complaints about F1 being little more than a really expensive spec series? How many times have we complained about too much aero grip for the amount of power? Well, we have 11 significantly different designs that are pushing the limits of reliability and cars that are noticeably more difficult to drive."

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2. Posted by Pipsary, 26/03/2014 22:13

"The first sign's of things going wrong and Red Bull come up with the classic I'll throw my toy's out the pram and then "We're Not Playing Any More"!"

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3. Posted by ladybugs, 26/03/2014 13:49

"If red bull can't play by the rules then get out of the game he go's on about sportsmanship how is it fair that everyone followers what the fia rules say and red bull do as they like we're is the sportsmanship in that ."

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4. Posted by GoodPublicity, 26/03/2014 11:18

"Now we'll see what FOM think of the prospect of an 18-car grid, maybe even this year.

Dietrich Mateschitz isn't a man to be messed with. He wouldn't flinch at the flea-bite penalties the FIA might impose, and there are any number of high-profile marketing alternatives to a sport that continually displays inept administration.

As for "it also cast doubt on the team's integrity - not for the first time - and cavalier approach to the rules", Red Bull is simply carrying on motorsport's finest tradition of exploiting Kenworth-sized loopholes in amateurishly written and unenforced rules. Its allegedly flexible front wings were no more illegal than Ferrari's allegedly over-capacity engines in Italian F1 races.

As the saying goes, "It's only a crime if you get caught.""

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5. Posted by marltoro, 25/03/2014 20:21

"Not a bad loser. This about a fundamental philosophy regarding the administration of the rules. there may be questions about where the sport is heading under the new formula, but its about the appeal that has resulted from the disqualification in Melbourne. there has been widespread comment they cheated, but if their data showed they were within the rule and if it was accurate then they didn't cheat. The stewards summary made it clear the FIA dictate the measurement process but if carried out that would put them in the sole position of being able to dictate how much fuel each team used and therefore the outcome of a race.

That is untenable to Red Bull. The FIA should not be able to exclusively dictate the measuring method in a way that would enable them to dictate via the stewards the race result. Otherwise we potentially end up with a manipulated championship and 'fixed' races. So this whole appeal is about a far bigger issue than people realise and his comments reflect the idea that if F1 is not a real competition then we have no place here...."

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6. Posted by Podge, 25/03/2014 17:05

"Ro, I don't disagree with his comments, it's just a bit rich that his own personal team uses the engines from the supplier that threatened to quit unless these new regulations were implemented! Like others have said, there was no whinging when Red Bull were the unchallenged kings of F1. These issues were apparent to every single fan, but it seems like everybody in the paddock stuck their fingers in their ears and sang "lalalalala".

We said the cars would be slower. They said they would catch up.
We said they would sound awful. They said get used to it, it's the new sound of F1.
We said the racing is dreary. They said....well, did, nothing."

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7. Posted by Ro, 25/03/2014 15:49

"Does anyone out there consider his remark incorrect ?

"It is absurd to race a lap seconds slower than last year. GP2 partially provides more racing and fighting and almost equal lap times as F1 with a small fraction of the budget."

Its not what F1 is all about. The cutrrent engines should only be in endurance racing, not F1"

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8. Posted by Carugatese, 25/03/2014 13:47

"Some debatable questions asked with a wrong timing: any doubt about his commitment only few months ago and now he's going to quit. Definitely a bad loser. "

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9. Posted by F One, 25/03/2014 13:18

"Don't forget to close the door on your way out Red Bull."

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10. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 25/03/2014 13:15

"Dear Mr. Mateschitz,

Feel free to depart. The talent that exists within your team(s) will very quickly be absorbed by the others, and, in a relatively short time, you will be nothing more than a distant memory. The likes of Sir Frank Williams, Ron Dennis are racers through and through. Even when not winning, they are there because THAT IS WHAT THEY DO. RACE.

"

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11. Posted by ratchet69, 25/03/2014 10:52

"I'm not surprised that Matesschitz has critisized the lack of speed. Nico's 2014 race fastest lap was 1m.32.478s (128.273mph). A full 3.2s slower than the 2013 F/L by Kimi of 1m29.274 (132.877mph). I was the second slowest 'fastest lap' since the first race in 1996 of 1m.33.241s (127.2mph), set by Jacques Villeneuve in a Williams FW18 and almost eight seconds shy of Michael Schumacher's lap record of 1m24.125 (141.010mph), set back in 1994 in the Benetton B194."

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12. Posted by Spindoctor, 25/03/2014 8:49

"It's pretty obvious that something is rotten in the state of Formula 1. It amazes me that Herr Mateschitz, someone with a huge investment in F1, has taken so long to notice it!
It appears his reasons for leaving would be to do with "sportsmanship, political influence, and so on" . As a long-term F1 fan I can't disagree that these are areas of grave concern, but none of them has suddenly appeared. They are so deep-rooted in today's F1 that they have become endemic to it.
Surely Mr Mateschitz's threat to take his ball away is typical of the internecine political infighting that he is implicitly criticising.

This particular outburst, it is clear to me, is simply that of a bad loser. When RBR was winning, none of these problems seemed to exercise him, now that they have been caught with their fingers wedged in the metaphorical till they do. In this instance it's a "fair cop guv" the "sporting" response would have been to do as the other teams did, and obey the rules in the race and argue later."

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