Red Bull owner and billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz denies that he was considering quitting Formula 1 last year when his team’s relationship with Renault were at a very low point and at one stage they appeared to have no engine supplier.
Speaking to Marca, Mateschitz admits now that the threats were without substance, “Really, we never thought about it. Although, in theory, there were always circumstances that could have made us go down that route, like for example, the obvious case of not having been able to secure a power unit supplier.”
Last year Mateschitz was singing from a different hymn book when he said, “We will only stay in F1 if we have a competitive team, and for this you require a competitive power unit.”
The turnaround is no doubt based on results, with Red Bull clearly second in the pecking order and most likely the team which will take the fight to Mercedes next year.
No doubt the arrival on the scene by Max Verstappen has also added considerable fizz to the Red Bull brand in F1 and when asked if the precocious teenager could be compared to the late great Ayrton Senna.
“If you consider his natural talent, his mental strength and the courage he has shown in the races, then yes,” replied Mateschitz. “But he also needs to be capable of keeping his speed, his skills and his strength up for a period of several years. Nobody knows if that will happen, but we believe he has the potential.”
With regards to Sainz, the billionaire said, “Carlos is a great sportsman, with a great personality, charisma and talent. His problem is that with Max and Daniel we already have two great drivers at Red Bull, and the performance of the Toro Rosso is not strong enough to challenge the leading drivers at Mercedes and Red Bull.
“I firmly believe that it will be good for Carlos to stay with our rookie team next another year, especially since we hope to improve significantly the performance of the car,” added Mateschitz.