Helmut Marko has issued the latest in a long line of quit threats from Red Bull, saying that the team will not race in Formula 1 next year unless it has a competitive engine.
Red Bull’s relationship with current power unit supplier Renault has soured over the past two years as the French marque’s shortcomings have resulted in a dramatic dip in form on-track.
Both Red Bull and Renault have agreed not to work together in 2016 despite their agreement running until the end of next season. Renault has stated that it will either revive its works team by buying out Lotus, or quit F1 altogether.
As a result, Red Bull has been left in need of an engine contract for 2016. Mercedes has already rejected working with the team for fear of increased competition, leaving Ferrari as the only realistic alternative.
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said at Monza that he would be open to helping Red Bull, but its demands for an engine equal to that of the works team, combined with Daniel Ricciardo’s performance in Singapore last weekend, may have prompted the bosses at Maranello to think twice.
Speaking to the official F1 website, Red Bull advisor Marko said that the brand could quit F1 altogether if it does not get an engine deal in place for 2016, which would also include the exit of its Toro Rosso b-team.
“There is an option to stop F1,” Marko admitted. “If we don’t have an engine that allows us to compete at the very front we will prefer to stop.
“The curtain may go down after Abu Dhabi. That is Mr. [Dietrich] Mateschitz’s opinion. He knows that it costs the same amount of money to race at the front or, like we are now doing, in the ‘premium midfield’ – and he is not willing to do that for another season.”
Marko also responded to rumors of a possible entry by Volkswagen to F1 in the future, with reports over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend claiming that a deal between the two parties was close.
“I don’t think that they have a ready engine concept in their drawers,” Marko said, agreeing to Audi motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich’s comments to MotorSportsTalk last month.
“Yes, the rumours are there – and, of course, it would be great if another engine manufacturer would join. But right now that is all crystal ball reading.”