Formula 1

F1 should ignore Red Bull's hollow quit threat

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The opening weekend of the 2015 F1 season will certainly not go down on Red Bull's list of most memorable races.

From problems in practice, causing Daniel Ricciardo to use a second of four allocated engines this season, the realisation of just how far behind Mercedes they are in a dismal qualifying session to finally only having a single car line up on the grid on Sunday which then proceeded to spend most of the 58 laps around Albert Park stuck behind a Sauber

It was the sort of weekend more reminiscent of the early years when they struggled to compete with the teams around them and were often blighted by concerns over reliability.

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Ricciardo slams "boring" Oz race

Unsurprisingly, Red Bull are not happy; Ricciardo apologised to his home fans for what he called a "boring" race, team boss Christian Horner was unrelenting in his criticism of the team's engine supplier Renault and now motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has again put the threat out that the Austrian drinks company could pull out of F1 altogether.

Many are rebuffing Horner and Marko's comments as sour grapes for the team failing to make any progress and close the gap to Mercedes over the winter, and perhaps it is the case, but when a company as powerful as Red Bull threatens to quit just how seriously should it be taken?

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Horner calls for grid equalisation

The feeling is at Red Bull that during their period of success the governing body often make restrictions to the regulations or ban certain aerodynamic innovations most of which were aimed at slowing down Red Bull.

Yet now, with Mercedes firmly at the helm, Horner see no efforts being made to, in effect, hold the Brackley team back and create a more competitive grid.

“When we were winning - and we were never winning to the advantage that they have - you have to remember that double diffusers were banned, exhausts were moved, flexible bodywork was prohibited, engine mapping mid-season was changed - everything was done, and that wasn't unique to Red Bull; that was Williams in previous years, McLaren, etc etc," he was quoted by Crash.net.

"The FIA, in their rules, have an equalisation mechanism and I think perhaps it's something that they need to look at.

“The FIA have a torque centre on every engine, a power output that they can see, that every engine is producing. They have the facts and they could quite easily come up with a way of finding some form of equalisation. I think you'd need to look in the rules [to discover the exact formula], but it certainly exists if one manufacture is out of kilter...”

Red Bull boss losing F1 passion?

As for Helmut Marko he continued to voice his stance against the move to the current engine formula, which came in at the beginning of last year, and the direction of the sport believing it is hurting F1's future and that the man with the money, Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, could be losing his passion.

"We will evaluate the situation again as every year and look into costs and revenues. If we are totally dissatisfied we could contemplate an F1 exit," the Austrian also told Crash.net.

"The danger is there that [Dietrich] Mateschitz loses his passion for F1."

"These power units are the wrong solution for F1, and we would say this even if Renault were in the lead. The technical rules are not understandable, much too complicated, and too expensive.

"We are governed by an engineers' formula. We wanted cost reduction too, but it is not happening like this. A designer like Adrian Newey is castrated by this engine formula. These rules will kill the sport."

Many are rebuffing Horner and Marko's comments as sour grapes for the team failing to make any progress and close the gap to Mercedes over the winter, and perhaps it is the case, but when a company as powerful as Red Bull threatens to quit just how seriously should it be taken?

F1 needs Red Bull's influence

In reality the answer to that is very because, serious or not, the prospect of losing Red Bull from the grid would take a major attraction, investor and in many ways provider out of the sport.

Of all the major brands involved in F1, Red Bull are perhaps the 'coolest' in terms of their brand image and their worldwide appeal continues to attract new fans. Almost every major sport now has the famous red and yellow logo somewhere and some extreme sports have garnered a much higher public profile through Red Bull's backing.

The money Mateschitz has put into F1 and motorsport in general with two teams, the vast number of young drivers in their academy programme, giving those who may have the talent but not the backing a chance to succeed, and even a Grand Prix at the refurbished Red Bull Ring, without them, the already diminishing appeal the sport has among fans and the next generations would be even more affected.

Then there is just the sheer enthusiasm Red Bull bring, compare them to Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes they really are the only team to look beyond their own ambitions and look out for the fans.

They allow drivers to express themselves because even when Vettel was winning it was still exciting because the German brought his own identity doing doughnuts and actually showing emotion and that, along with show runs and other events does far more to promote F1 to a wider audience than most.

Others must rule to roost too

At the same time, however, while Red Bull bring a lot to the sport that doesn't necessarily mean they have the right to get what they want.

Politics undoubtedly play a part, because after years of winning the team are undoubtedly dissatisfied to be well away from even a podium finish, but those who do do a better job must be allowed to reap the rewards.

The gap Mercedes has is remarkable and highlights just how far ahead in development they are and just because Red Bull don't like it doesn't mean Mercedes should have their performance castrated.

Stop whining, get working

Sure its not a great show for the fans, and already there are signs Lewis Hamilton has the beating of Nico Rosberg this year, but they must be allowed to see the pay-off for the money and work invested and its up to the rest to catch up.

That's exactly what Ferrari have done making huge strides over the winter months and now it's up to Red Bull and Renault to do the same.

There are things wrong with F1 and those need to be addressed but when it comes down to the basic art of competing against your rivals, focussing on your own issues and seeing where you can improve is far more beneficial than threatening to throw in the towel.

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Formula 1

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