Mateschitz plays down Red Bull engine swap

Dietrich Mateschitz with Christian Horner

Dietrich Mateschitz with Christian Horner

Red Bull uber-boss Dietrich Mateschitz has played down claims that he is set to approve a bespoke engine project to power his Formula 1 team Red Bull from 2016.

The reports have been fuelled by none other than the billionaire’s Formula 1 right-hand-man Helmut Marko, who said that links with renowned Austrian companies like Pankl and AVL mean: “You should never say no. We are looking at all alternatives.”

Mateschitz, rarely seen in the paddock, is attending this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at his very own Red Bull Ring. He said that he is “coping” with Red Bull’s struggle in 2014, following four consecutive years of title dominance.

“This is sport,” Mateschitz is quoted by the Austrian press. “During the past four and a half years, we have won almost everything. But it can’t be that way forever. And we know why we are behind.”

Mateschitz’s last statement is an obvious reference to Renault, Red Bull’s underperforming engine supplier. The team is obviously keen to match the field-leading Mercedes in a straight line, but obviously unable to switch to the V6s supplied by its arch-rivals.

Mateschitz, however, played down the reports of a bespoke Red Bull engine,  “We are not a car manufacturer. Our primary expertise is not the construction of engines.”

The ‘Red Bull engine’ report might therefore be just a stark wake-up call for Renault.

“Red Bull [have] high standards,” agreed the French marque’s engine boss Rob White. “So we understand the reasons for the statements of Helmut Marko and other team members,” he told motorline.cc.

“We want to satisfy Marko and the others so it is important for us to improve. But I don’t see any conflict between Renault and Red Bull,” White added. (GMM)