Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has confirmed that he is considering ending his involvement in Formula 1 with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, claiming that he will only remain in the sport so long as his teams are competitive.
Following a difficult start to the season in Australia that saw Daniel Ricciardo finish in a distant sixth place, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko blamed engine supplier Renault for the team’s failings and claimed that the team could quit if changes were not made to F1.
Ricciardo and teammate Daniil Kvyat struggled once again in Malaysia, finishing ninth and tenth behind the Toro Rosso pairing of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Mateschitz has now made a firm statement about Red Bull’s future in the sport, telling the Austria Press Agency that he would only keep his teams in F1 if they were competitive and had capable power unit.
“We will only stay in Formula 1 if we have a competitive team, and we need a competitive power unit for that,” Mateschitz 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.
“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.”
The new engine formula introduced to F1 in 2014 has seen Mercedes pull ahead of the field thanks to its superior power unit.
A late start in 2014 saw Renault lag behind the German marque, limiting Red Bull to three victories and second place in the constructors’ championship last year. However, its issues appear to be persisting in 2015, with Red Bull dropping further down the field behind Ferrari and Williams.
Mateschitz went on to suggest that Renault should consider its own involvement in F1 if it could not improve its power unit and become more competitive.
“Of course Renault can also weigh its options, including a pull out,” the 70-year-old said. “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.”
Renault is known to be considering its future involvement in the sport. However, this could manifest itself in the return of a works team, with Toro Rosso being identified as a possible team that could be sold to the French marque.
With Audi also reportedly looking to enter F1 and being named as a possible buyer for Red Bull, if Mateschitz is serious about quitting the sport, it is unlikely he will struggle to offload the operation.