World champions Red Bull have issued under fire Formula 1 engine supplier Renault with an ultimatum: to improve or be dumped.
Although the reigning world champions have emerged from the depths of a winter crisis, Helmut Marko insisted that Renault have a long way to go if they want their engines to stay in the team’s Adrian Newey-penned cars.
Indeed, Marko has claimed the credit for much of Renault’s improvement since the winter, revealing that he installed a ‘crisis team’ comprising Red Bull and Toro Rosso engineers at the French marque’s Viry headquarters.
Now, he has told Germany’s Bild newspaper that his patience is running out.
“If there is no noticeable improvement in two or three months, we will definitely be talking about an alternative,” said Marko, who is famously close to Red Bull’s team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
Until then, he said Red Bull is working on compensating for an 80 horse power deficit through car changes – and hoping for trouble at the front of the grands prix.
“We cannot put additional horse power in the engine ourselves,” said Marko. “But we can hope for trouble between Rosberg and Hamilton and drive past them.”
He is referring to the internal battle between Mercedes’ 2014 driver duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who so far in 2014 have traded easy race wins.
Mercedes’ Toto Wolff admits that he is aware of the potential for problems.
“We are spending quite some time discussing those things, discussing scenarios and discussing situations,” he said when asked about the prospect of the driver relationship boiling over.
“It’s Mercedes and it’s the team that comes first, but one day [the situation] will be rubbish,” Austrian Wolff told the Mirror newspaper.
“What makes a difference is that these guys have known each other for such a long time and they have a fair relationship with each other.
“But it doesn’t mean that they are not extremely competitive and that they will try to use every advantage they can,” he added. (GMM)