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New quit threat from Red Bull


Whilst its energy drink claims to give you wings, it's fair to say that unless it gets its way, Red Bull will certainly give you grief.

In the midst of its messy divorce from Renault, and having been denied an engine supply by Mercedes, the Austrian team (and its sister's) only hope appears to be Ferrari.

Indeed, speaking at the weekend, team boss Christian Horner admitted that should Ferrari follow Amy Winehouse's example and say 'no, no, no', his team would be in serious trouble.

"Then we have a major, major problem as effectively we are a team without an engine," he told Sky Sports F1. "The onus is really on the powers that be to come up with a solution or risk losing not only Red Bull, but also Toro Rosso as well.

"There is a chance, how big that chance is doesn't depend on us, it depends on others. It is a Ferrari engine or nothing. Mercedes won't supply us and there is no other option."

However, not only is Red Bull seeking engines from Ferrari, it is demanding total parity… or it walks.

In an editorial on its own website, Speedweek, though no direct quotes are carried, it is made clear that Red Bull is insisting on receiving the same engines as Ferrari's works team or it leaves the sport.

"For those among us who have listened closely to what Red Bull chief Dietrich Mateschitz and his motor sports consultant Dr. Helmut Marko said recently and who interpret it correctly and put together one and one, a clear scenario emerges: Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso will pull out of Formula 1 after the 2015 season," reads the editorial, according to

In much the same way as Ferrari previously used its infamous Horse Whisperer to get its message across, Speedweek, on behalf of Red Bull continues: "Red Bull doesn't want to have customer engines that have 30 to 40 hp less and can be manipulated by the constructor in case of the customer team endangering the works team.

"Red Bull would like to continue in F1 only if Ferrari is willing to provide true works engines that are on the same level as the engines of Vettel and Raikkonen."

"As a customer team you will only get an engine that is good enough to take away points from their immediate rivals," Mateschitz is quoted as saying. "But this engine will never be good enough to beat the works team. With such a customer engine we will never be world champion again. And if that's the case we lose interest."

It was also made clear that the demand applied to both teams.

"A partial pull-out with Toro Rosso remaining in F1 is off the table now, too," reveals the editorial. "Why should Red Bull want to develop talents like Verstappen and Sainz when there is no possibility to have them make a step internally in the footsteps of Vettel, Ricciardo and Kvyat?"

With Ferrari yet to agree a deal, even though Maurizio Arrivabene has said the manufacturer is not afraid of the competition, it will be interesting to see how the Italian company reacts to such a blatant threat.

In the meantime, Volkswagen's much publicised issues, which has already seen $25bn wiped off the value of the company, and could result in fines of up to $18bn, leaves the German giant with a little bit more on its mind than the increasingly irritating demands of an energy drink manufacturer.


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1. Posted by BWesty, 29/09/2015 7:11

"I hear you scf1fan.. The way I see it, Red Bull have been looking for a reason to leave F1 since last year, having to support one F1 one team can be a little expensive, but two?? that's just being silly. they have been trying to off-load Toro Rosso for a while now but nobody is biting. Audi were rumoured to be joining F1 in 2018 but that would leave RB/TO with two year of using a customer engine and that would not sit well with DM, as we would see Red Bull mulling around the middle of the pack...just as they did last year... And with the way RB have publicly dragged Renault through mud this season, I honestly find it difficult to see why any manufacturer would want to supply them with anything, let alone a

In an ideal F1 world having 4 or 5 manufacturers in F1 would be fantastic. The rumours that Audi would be entering the sport have been around for years now, but with VW's latest transgressions and heavy fines heading their way, that entry may just be put on hold... I've been on at my mates for years about having more manufacturers competing in F1, but the truth is that if you are a major manufacturer and you keep losing to other manufacturers, it could potentially damage your brand. (again the ugly marketing monster raises it head!!)

With regards to the current technology, I agree with you that simplifying the PU and or modifying the normally aspirated V8's or V10's would make it easier to persuade manufacturers to join or re-join F1. I know F1 is all about the technology, but it is also about entertainments. When cars win buy 20 to 30 seconds it's really not that entertaining right?


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2. Posted by scf1fan, 29/09/2015 1:10

"@BWesty - I think I've been pretty clear. RB & Co. need to open their massive checkbook and partner up with an engine manufacturer and develop a new supplier. (I hesitate to mention Cosworth again since I would hate to see such a historic racing name bullied by a soft drink maker. Porsche, Audi, and others could all be up to the task.)

From off hand observation it would probably make economic sense to have two to four teams per supplier, though in part, that depends on whether the PU manufacturer can actually make any money in the process. MB probably does, but doesn't have too. (Just by winning they get a lot of free advertising.) Ferrari probably breaks even, but it certainly helps to defray the production costs to have other teams as customers. Honda has to be losing their butts, but they have deep pockets. Ranault . . . . big question there. Perhaps based on government assistance which probably isn't what it use to be.

I would say that the PU development costs, and the way F1 is constraining that development are the two big issues with the PU . . . I thought it was great when almost every team had it's own engine supplier; Mugen, Hart, Lambo, BMW . . . But a straight ICE is a much simpler animal, and a lot of the current major players want to show case their (quasi) consumer technologies. As noted many times over the last year, if the hybrids go away, so will a number of the manufacturers.

I would think that the formula could be opened up to allow a straight ICE in a lighter car. (The battery and various ERSs don't contribute to the vehicle safety . . . ) so allowing a straight ICE car to run with the same fuel capacity (or perhaps 10% more) would be an interesting variation in energy usage."

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3. Posted by BWesty, 28/09/2015 13:03

"@ Repco Lad, @Bazrat, @scf1fan and @Nonickname... and @ all the others who posted on this article....putting the marketing malarkey aside, can any of you come up with a solution regarding engine suppliers? Do we need more manufactures or less OR do we need more private teams building engines in the back yard??

I agree that entering the sport knowing you'll never beat your engine suppliers works team can be rather discouraging, and a little off putting... and if Renault do come back as a works team (as they have been threatening to do since the beginning of the year) , I would also be looking for a NEW engine supplier, if I were Red Bull....
Who do I go to?? As soon as I take on a supplier's engine I'm doomed to mediocrity. And it's not like there are 20 manufacturers waiting outside my door to give me exclusive rights to their engine. I suspect this was precisely what was going through RD's head at McLaren when he decided to drop the Mercedes engine. He was very Fortunate as Honda was willing to join him on his crusade. (and good for them both) I'm sure that exercise will be fruitful in the long run.

So what are the customer teams to do to get parity in their sport? Do they try to sweet talk VW (Audi/Lamborghini), BMW, Toyota, Jaguar or Ford into joining the F1 fold? With the money and the technology required to put a car on the track these days, I suspect they will find the pickings very thin.
We have seen some of the above mentioned manufacturers try and fail over the years. Even Mercedes nearly pulled out two years ago when their was talk about not moving to the current power units.

I guess the horse has already bolted in terms of the relationship between Red Bull and Renault, but, what are Red bulls options if any right now? Just like McLaren, they don't build engines and they don't want to be getting less competitive engines from their supplier whom ever it may be?? If you were in Red Bull or Toro Rosso's shoes right now, without whining too much in public, what would you do to be competitive again? I suspect the likes of Sauber, Williams, Force India and for that Matter the New Haas team must be asking the same question

But the bigger question in my humble opinion would be... if I'm spending this much money to be in a sport that I know I'll never the champion, then WHY am I here... Marketing perhaps??? Food for Thought"

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4. Posted by repco lad, 27/09/2015 2:11

"Bazrat, give me a spell. Do you understand that all teams with customer engines will never seriously compete for titles under this formula. So the ups and downs you refer to are now ingrained as just a series of mediocre results. E.g. Williams will never return to the heights of the 80 and 90s with this current formula. I can't blame RBR for not wanting to pad the field out so those with superior equipment can bask in their Piric victories."

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5. Posted by Yeyox02, 26/09/2015 23:00

"Well, I am so worried about RB is threatening to quit F1 that I will cry. Formula 1 is not RB and RB is not Formula 1 and if they want to leave absolutely nothing will happen. Thatīs it. "

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6. Posted by Bazrat, 26/09/2015 19:13

"repco lad did you read your own post or have you a very limited knowledge of F1,some team's go's though a stage were they are winners than go's though a stage were they do not.Look at williams Mclaren Ferrari etc each one had bad spells but Mateschitz with out doubt is the worst kind of person who cannot accept the fat they are having a bad spell,they either got to win or they will leave,just think about the employees who do not know if they will have a JOB FROM ONE WEEK TO THE NEXT,so next time you have a rant try to keep it to your self please."

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7. Posted by repco lad, 26/09/2015 0:37

"Had to check that I wasn't on PlanetF1 after reading the patronising tone of the author and the fanboy responses in the comments. So if I read it right, people think Redbull should be grateful for their b-grade engines whoever the supplier.... or leave. Under that scenario, if Honda continue to stink it up, the only teams with any chance of winning in F1 in the foreseeable future are the Mercedes or Ferrari works teams. Fascinating viewing for bandwagon supporters of those teams but hardly any sort of worthy championship."

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8. Posted by HappyHippyBiker, 24/09/2015 16:40

"So Renault are thinking about a return to F1? We have not heard much about their buyout of Lotus lately. Maybe they are looking at a car already designed round their engine?"

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9. Posted by wmcot54, 24/09/2015 5:01

"Another day, another threat..."

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10. Posted by scf1fan, 24/09/2015 0:49

"(Darn those typos!!!! Grrr . . . :-)"

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11. Posted by scf1fan, 24/09/2015 0:46

"@nonickname - To try to address your comment most directly, there is “marketing” and then marketing, and Mercedes’ marketing in F1 is nothing like RB’s; which I’ll get to later. Yes it takes a lot of money to run an F1 Team, no doubt, but the SPORT isn't about how much money you spend or how much your ad space goes for, it's about bringing your best to the track (team/technology/driver) and then doing your best with it, on the track! The ads/marketing are just one means to the ends. (And if you don't believe that, go look at Frank Williams and the history of his team. He is the epitome of being a sportsman in F1.)

So Mr. Mateschitz teams have been having a more difficult time these last couple years; there’s nothing wrong with that, losing does happen. The problem as I see it is that for Mr. Mateschitz, (and perhaps the cause for his lack of sportsmanship) is that to RB, it's ALL about the marketing. And since his team isn't winning, he is, or his surrogates are, whining! (So from your previous post I would have to ask; where is his "work his butt off" effort to succeed now?)

If Mr. Mateschitz wants better press, instead of complaining and threatening, let him invest in Cosworth or any other engine company and then beat Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari and Honda at their own game. He could have spent more money with Renault, but instead his team has done nothing but berate Renault in the public eye. (And Singapore proves that Renault isn't that bad!) If that isn't worth the "marketing" value to invest enough for the level of success that he desires, then he should leave. (And do it quietly!) What I don't get about your criticism (of most of our opinions) is, what do you expect F1 to do for RB?

RBR/STR aren't being cheated. No one forced his teams to make the decisions they've made. The other teams are just beating his fair and square. Now if his "marketing" is to convince us all that he is a sore loser; then in that he is succeeding! Royally! One part of effective marketing is to "shut the hell up" if you don't have anything good to say. Frankly, if it wasn't for Ricciardo's effervescent personality, I would totally write RBR off. Ricciardo will probably have a place to drive next year even if Mr. Mateschitz takes his ball and goes home. F1 doesn't need his ball; that’s most of our opinions! He didn't start the teams he owns, someone else will probably buy the teams when he leaves. (Though maybe not VW at this point.)

Perhaps in conjunction with your comment about Mercedes MOTORSPORT, one of Mr. Mateschitz's problems is that he has no skin in the F1 game other than $$. And this is the difference between Mercedes’ “marketing” in F1 and RB’s. You mentioned Mercedes like they are just another "soft drink" company. They are not! When they succeed in F1 or any of the other levels of racing that they participate in, they are saying to the world that they are a more technically capable automotive company than the others. They are saying, and I think that you would even agree, that they are a better car company then Renault, or Ferrari, or Honda. (I'm not sure that that is totally true in every sense, or that it’s worth it, but I know that that is what they believe they are demonstrating.) That is more than just “marketing” . . . Whereas F1 (and all the other "marketing" Red Bull does) doesn't contribute anything to making Red Bull a better soft drink, or even a better company, at all. Mercedes wants to make sure they are "represented" (or marketed) properly in F1 because cars are their business. To RB, it appears, cars are only billboards for their real business.

That is why many of us don't care if RB stays in F1 or not. Frankly I would like them to stay, but, in my mind they need to shut up! They can change engines if the feel they must, but no one in F1 "owes" them anything. They just need to work harder, and perhaps more cooperatively if they want to be back on top. If that's not worth it for them, most of us fell that they can leave."

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12. Posted by nonickname, 23/09/2015 22:02

"Here is a very interesting quote.
It puts a lot into perspective. What 'sport' uses 1,200 staff to run 2 entrants?? Would Mercedes spend this effort if it was about sport,not marketing? F1 was a sport when teams could,and did,build a car in the garage and race it ..please read the quote below and think a little.

Toto Wolf: It is the opinion of somebody who is responsible for the Mercedes motorsport program, responsible for 1,200 employees and who also has the responsibility to represent the Mercedes-Benz brand in the right way in Formula One‎ - and to make sure it is represented in the right way by others, too. Full stop!"

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13. Posted by scf1fan, 23/09/2015 20:28

"@nonickname (you haven't gone under the name Vinicious before have you? :-) Also not trying to be too combative . . . but . . . The trouble with your argument is very basic. In this world, very few people/things/whatever are indispensable. So, although Mr. Mateschitz may be "finest marketing people of the century" in your eyes, he is of absolutely 0 worth to me. (I've never had a "Red Bull" anything in my life, and well, my opinion of them is my opinion of them.) And I say that acknowledging that he is a successful business man. BUT!!! His marketing skills have absolutely nothing to do with his character as a sportsman as it relates to F1. That is what he is being criticized for here. If he just wanted the advertising, he should have stuck with putting up billboards around the track, or having his emblems plastered on the cars. BUT!!!! He decided he wanted to participate more fully in the SPORT! And to that he deserves no more than anyone else. You say "he does not need to finish 2nd" well, yes he does. If he isn't prepared to do the work to be and stay number one (and in a sport, no one stays number 1 forever) then he damn well deserves to be in whatever place he gets. If he can't deal with that, then he should leave.

F1 is not a sport of marketing . . . it is a sport of technology, and at this point, Mr. Mateschitz is coming up way short, even though he does have the money and the skill to do better!! That is what is so surprising to the majority of us."

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14. Posted by GLS-BrooklynNY, 23/09/2015 18:18

"Dear Sir,
Red Bull leaving F1 gives new opportunities and revenue stream to Renault F1 Sport. Watching Renault F1 since 1990 , one has seen all sorts of combinations and winning the F1 driver and constructor titles with Schumacher and against Schumacher and others who went on to win F1 Driver titles. I know Renault will turn around soon. They are humble and manage their integration effforts well. Renault should buy Lotus F1 and get Adrien Newey from Red Bull. They should be winning from 2016. Red Bull F1 is complaining if it did not win for one year. This shows the weakness of winners like Red Bull. The more wins you do, you should be more humble and relentless in your goal. Like anything else, getting into trouble is common. Coming out of the well is the tricky part, requires persistence efforts and careful planning and execution and distinguishes winners from crybabes like Red Bull F1. God is Power first and then He is the Most humble person. The more powerful, the more humble one gets. Renault should show Red Bull that winning takes more than money, one more time. As said in Gita, one should put one's best efforts every time but do not demand results! Results are given to you by your Destiny Karma! I would tell Red Bull to stay in the sport for another 2-5 years and fund Renault to increase their R&D for their engine work and innovate aerodynamics with the wizard, Adrien. Develop Red Bull F1 as a sport that manages its income and expenses on its own and help from Bernie! Winning boosts one's ego. Who told that winning is any good for Red Bull! It may be for Mercedes! "

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15. Posted by nonickname, 23/09/2015 16:51

"Hi Spin Doctor,
please this is not to start an argument.Mateschitz is one of the finest marketing people of the century.He started with virtually nothing, except an incredible ability to see an opportunity and has worked his but off to get where he is(and no, I don't work for him). He has taken a totally unknown brand and made it no 1 in the world.
He 'owns' every type of extreme sport, from big wave surfing to down hill racing. He does not need to finish 2nd anywhere. This is the real world, where profit is king, not a nursery where all the nice kids play.
End of comments. "

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