Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz warns that Mercedes and Ferrari’s current domination “is not doing any good to F1”, while issuing another thinly-veiled threat quit if his team can not compete at the front.
After claiming four consecutive championship doubles using Renault V8 engines from 2010-13, Red Bull has slipped down the pecking order in the 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged era and is coming off its first winless season since 2008.
The energy drinks giant spent most of last year trying to secure another power supply and actually approached Mercedes and Ferrari, only to be met with a refusal on both occasions.
Mateschitz’ comments echo Bernie Ecclestone’s similar remarks, with the F1 commercial rights chief criticising Mercedes and Ferrari’s stronghold on the sport as they supply eight of the 11 teams enrolled in the 2016 F1 world championship.
“Bernie [Ecclestone] is absolutely right in his position,” the Red Bull boss is quoted as saying by Autosport.
“We have the situation right now that the tail waves the dog.
“The power of Mercedes and Ferrari is not doing any good to F1.”
Red Bull eventually found an agreement with Renault to carry on using its power units in 2016, albeit under the TAG Heuer moniker, while junior team Toro Rosso has returned to the Ferrari fold to race a late-2015 engine specification.
Having also been rebuffed by Honda, the Austrian company endorsed the introduction of a cheaper independent engine, an idea first put forward by FIA president Jean Todt, with Ecclestone also in favour.
However, the idea was canned after manufacturers agreed to lower the cost of their power supply to customer teams last January. With Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s current engine deals expiring at the end of this season, Mateschitz reiterates that failure to secure a strong package could see him pull the plug on his two F1 outfits.
“Everything right now is pretty open.
“We definitely will not fight for fifth in the next five years.
“If we don't get a competitive engine after 2016 we have no choice but to consider our future.
“F1 is not the Tour de France, and we will for sure not play a supporting cast role.”