Ecclestone threatens legal action if Red Bull quits F1

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Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has issued a warning to Red Bull Racing that any move by the team to quit the sport before 2020 could result in legal action.

All the teams have already signed contracts to compete in the world championship for another five seasons, and Ecclestone said that he would take steps to hold Red Bull to that agreement if they attempted to pull out of the sport at the end of this year in a row over engine supplies.

Ecclestone said that the team not being able to secure an engine deal that it deemed satisfactory would be no defence against a suit for breach of contract.

“Red Bull would stand up in court and say: ‘Yes, we have a commitment, we do, but we haven’t got an engine’,” Ecclestone told Britain's The Independent newspaper on Tuesday.

"My argument would be: ‘You signed the contract to compete. You should have made sure when you signed the contract that you had an engine. Your team was supposed to do this.'"

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has threatened to pull out both Red Bull and its sister team Toro Rosso if a replacement for existing engine providers Renault can't be found.

However, both Mercedes and Ferrari are understandably reluctant to give a boost to a major rival on the grid and jeopardise their own chances of winning the world title again in 2016, while Honda is in no position to provide a competitive power unit this early in its program since returning to Formula One in 2015.

Ecclestone admitted that the engine supply situation in the support is not currently a healthy one.

"If Ferrari only agreed to supply one customer engine, Mercedes only agreed to supply one, nobody would have any engines," he pointed out.

"That’s exactly what the situation is. We need an independent engine supplier. I’ve been on about this now for a year and a half."

Ecclestone has also spoken about trying to force through a return to V8 engines as early as next season in order to try and improve the competition between teams in the sport.

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