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"We never thought about" leaving F1 admits Mateschitz

NEWS STORY
07/11/2016

Red Bull owner Dietrich Matescitz says his team(s) never really considered quitting the sport.

Remember the endless threats that Red Bull and its sister team Toro Rosso were going to quit F1 unless an acceptable engine supplier could be found? Well it turns out the threats weren't for real.

"Really, we never thought about it," Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz tells Spanish newspaper Marca.

"Although, in theory, there were always circumstances that could have made us go down that route, like for example, the obvious case of not having been able to secure a power unit supplier," he adds.

Just to refresh your memory, saddled with the Renault engine which was clearly no match for the Mercedes or even Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso looked elsewhere. When Mercedes and Ferrari refused to supply current-spec engines the threats began.

As Mateschitz, along with Helmut Marko and Christian Horner ramped up the threats, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone - clearly not aware that Mateschitz was kidding - looked to changes the rules even going to the extent of seeking out an independent engine supplier.

Eventually however, having held the sport to ransom, Toro Rosso opted for year-old Ferrari units while Red Bull stuck with Renault, albeit badging the power units in favour of a watchmaker.

And while Renault, which returned to the sport as a manufacturer in its own right having bought the Lotus team, struggled, Red Bull went on to win a couple of races and finish runner-up in the 2016 title race.

The threats began in March 2015. "We will evaluate the situation again in the summer as every year and look into costs and revenues," Helmut Marko was quoted as saying by the Austrian media.

"If we are totally dissatisfied we could contemplate an F1 exit," he added. "The danger is there that Mr Mateschitz loses his passion for F1."

A few weeks later, Mateschitz himself reiterated the threat.

"We'll only stay in Formula One if we have a competitive team, and we need a competitive power unit for that," he said. "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.

"Of course Renault can also weigh its options, including a pull out," he added. "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."

Ahead of his team's home race at the Red Bull Ring last year, Mateschitz said: "They (Renault) take from us not only time and money, but also the will and motivation,” he lamented. "There is no driver and no chassis which is more able to compensate for the lack of horsepower. What else has to happen that we will lose our motivation completely?

"We're no good at playing the expensive cameo role," he added. You can’t force one to stay, when he wants to go out,” he warned.

In September came the news that Red Bull would not use Renault engines in 2016.

"The separation from our engine partner at the end of the season is by mutual agreement," he told Salzburger Nachrichten. "There was no sense in working together any more. You couldn't put the teams through that any longer."

Two weeks later, in an editorial on its own website, Speedweek, the threat was spelled out in black and white.

"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.

"A partial pull-out with Toro Rosso remaining in F1 is off the table now, too," the editorial continued. "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?"

On and on it continued... until December, when the Austrian team revealed that it intended to "drive forward with TAG Heuer power unit in 2016".

However, the threats continued.

In March this year, a year after the threats first began, talking to Speedweek - the energy drink equivalent of Pravda - Mateschitz was at it again.

"If we are not competitive from an engine point of view, we will leave, he warned. "For sure we don't want to spend the next five years fighting for P5. We want to be P3 behind the manufacturers' teams. We should win the fight against the customer teams of Mercedes and Ferrari."

So, not only was he pulling out legs - the little scamp - that mighty Tag Heuer engine powered Red Bull to P2 exceeding Dietrich's wildest dreams.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by -ape-, 10/11/2016 21:17

"this were Ferrari type tactics ...pity
"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Peter Rickitt, 08/11/2016 18:55

"So now we have it confirmed: Red Bull's Mateschits - forenames Dietrich, Helmut and (ironically) Christian - are the lying charlatans everyone believed them to be. However, they have done F1 a service - they have publicly confirmed that the 'sport' of Grand Prix motor-racing is dead."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Canuck, 08/11/2016 12:38

"Who would want to supply engines to his teams? Renault has been good to him to put up with all the abuse, I doubt any other engine supplier would have done it."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Thomas1, 08/11/2016 3:57

"Red Bull would have left the game if it continues to lose in2016. Dietrich Matescitz will change his strategy accordingly. A good combination will be that Red Bull gets Honda engines for the next 3 years. The fans can enjoy the on-track positions and the off-track comments from Red Bull honchos. Will Honda have he thick skin for their comments will be nice to know. It will be fun. May be Toro should get the Honda engines
in 2017 and beyond!
"

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5. Posted by Canuck, 08/11/2016 0:16

"What do you expect from a guy that sells "Red Bull Shit" for a living. Conning millions of people is his game"

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6. Posted by ryanhellyer, 07/11/2016 23:16

"I wish they'd just leave. Their attitude is appalling."

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7. Posted by edllorca, 07/11/2016 20:39

"Do we care if he comes or goes... I think not."

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8. Posted by ARL, 07/11/2016 20:00

"What a pity. Their whining sociopathic sense of entitlement would not be missed."

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