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Horner: Red Bull-Volkswagen deal “up in smoke”

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Christian Horner has admitted that a possible deal between Red Bull and Volkswagen has gone “up in smoke” following the German manufacturer’s recent emissions scandal that could result in an $18 billion fine.

Volkswagen has been frequently linked with a move into Formula 1 over the past few years with one of its brands that include Audi, Porsche and Bugatti.

Over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan claimed that a deal between Red Bull and Volkswagen was very close, with the manufacturer’s entry poised to remedy the team’s recent woes with the Renault power unit.

Red Bull has stated that it will quit F1 if it does not have a competitive engine for 2016 as talks with Ferrari continue, but its long-term goal appears to have been to work with Volkswagen.

Around the same time, it was revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency had found that many of Volkswagen’s road cars had been fitted with software that rigged emissions tests.

The company admitted on Tuesday that 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide were running with the software, prompting CEO Martin Winterkorn to tender his resignation.

Speaking to NBCSN in Suzuka on Friday, Red Bull team principal Horner said that needing an engine supplier so late in the year is not ideal, but that he is working hard to strike a new deal.

“Of course it’s not an ideal situation,” Horner said. “I’m working hard to try and find a solution, and hopefully there will be a solution in the coming weeks but it’s quite simple. If we don’t get an engine, we can’t push the car.

When asked if we could safely assume it would not be provided by Volkswagen, Horner wryly said: “That seemed to go up in smoke.”

Horner was quick to reinforce the severity of the team’s latest quit threat, saying that Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz would not consider such drastic action lightly.

“Dietrich Mateschitz doesn’t tend to make idle threats so when he does talk, you have to listen to what he says,” he said.

“Other activities have been stopped at very short notice whether it’s NASCAR or Red Bull Air Race. F1 has to fulfil a purpose, and if it doesn’t fulfil that purpose within the group, then serious questions will be asked.

Horner once again laid blame with current engine supplier Renault, saying that the power unit it has supplied has made competing with the Mercedes and Ferrari-powered teams impossible, prompting Red Bull to question its place in the sport.

“It’s not that we’re no longer winning. It’s that we’re in a position where we can’t compete other than at bespoke circuits such as Singapore,” Horner said.

“I think what you have to understand with Red Bull is that having paid for an engine with Renault throughout our relationship, as a paying customer, it’s unacceptable to get a product as inferior as we’ve received.

“Therefore, with the way that the regulations are, unless you have a Mercedes or a Ferrari power unit, it’s quite simply impossible to compete. If we’re not able to compete, then you have to question what is the validity of remaining in F1.”

Tempers flare as Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais collide at Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — A multicar crash with just over 20 laps remaining in the Indianapolis 500 had tempers flaring Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Graham Rahal angrily confronted Sebastien Bourdais after the two collided while racing for position entering the third turn. As they spun beside each other, Rahal threw his hands up in the air and continued to gesture wildly at Bourdais as their cars came to a stop.

Rahal scrambled out of his car and went directly to Bourdais’ cockpit to scream at the driver before the safety crew arrived. Rahal then yanked off his gloves and threw them in his car after punching the air a few times.

The crash began after Bourdais’ left rear tire hit Rahal’s right front as they entered the corner and Bourdais seemed to come down on Rahal’s line.

“I’m just very disappointed,” Rahal told NBC Sports after being released from the care center. “It’s just another year to sit and think about it. I respect Sebastien as a driver, but I don’t respect that move.

“At those speeds, that’s how you kill somebody. I’m just not a fan of squeezing and putting people in those positions.”

Bourdais climbed out of his car shortly afterward and seemed unhurt. He was cited for avoidable contact by the IndyCar stewards and seemed somewhat remorseful about the move in an interview with NBC Sports.

“I didn’t think he had as much of the car as he did,” Bourdais said. “It’s always a dynamic thing. He got a run, it stalled there for a while, we made contact, and it sets up the whole thing. At that point. I’m just trying to collect the whole thing. It’s always easy to say I should have given up going into the corner.”

Rahal and Bourdais were former teammates at Newman-Haas Raccing.

“He’s been struggling all day,” Rahal said. “I was lifting a little bit to manage my gap. You can see him squeezing me and turns into me, and there nothing you can do. With 20 to go, you have to go. I think Sebastien knows that, which is probably why he hasn’t said much to me.”

The race was red-flagged at 3:17 p.m. on Lap 180 of 200 to clean up the debris from the multicar pileup.