Formula 1

Formula One need Red Bull more than they need them

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Ferrari's refusal to supply former Constructors' World Champions Red Bull is more of a threat to Formula 1 than the Milton Keynes-based team's desire to stay in the sport if they can't find a competitive engine.

Red Bull's advisor, Helmut Marko, stated the team's intentions to quit the sport back in September if they couldn't find a competitive engine when discussions with Mercedes and Ferrari broke down.

That could leave F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone frantically searching for a new team to fill the last two places on the grid while Haas enter the sport next season. However, the 84-year-old is still confident of Red Bull's involvement next year.


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Ferrari have understandably rejected the chance to supply their close rivals with an engine next season as they look to close in on Mercedes, who have dominated F1 massively for the last two years.

Mercedes themselves were thought to be prepared to offer the team an engine back in July, but subsequent reports in September have suggested they are no longer interested in supplying Red Bull.

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Formula 1 is quick becoming a monopoly sport with Mercedes dominant for the past two seasons and Red Bull the four years previous. The closest competition the German outfit have faced is Ferrari, who quite understandably don't want to assist Red Bull in the race for the top.

It certainly feels that if F1 were to lose such a major competitor, not only will they likely lose their sister team Toro Rosso, but also some of the fan base. Watching Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battle it out with Sebastian Vettel is not the level of competition television viewers and the crowds at the Grand Prix expect.

Red Bull demand competitiveness

Despite reports this month suggesting that Red Bull have yet to officially agree with Renault to terminate their contract a year early at the end of the season, they are unhappy with the lack of competitiveness the engine provides.

"What's clear is we want a competitive engine, because with these regulations you saw at Monza we were two seconds behind," Marko told Sky Sports.

"As long as you don't have a power unit which can compete it doesn't make sense."

Red Bull are currently fourth with 149 points in the Constructors' Championship going into the weekend's Grand Prix in Austin - a massive 382 points behind leaders Mercedes, while drivers Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo are seventh and eighth respectively in the Drivers' Championship.

Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz has tipped Red Bull to strike a works deal with Volkswagen-Audi in the long term, as they look to return to competing for the F1 title.

Problems for Ecclestone

It is, however, more of a worry for Ecclestone to face the prospect of one of the teams, which are synonymous with the sport, quitting if they feel their investment into F1 is more than what they are getting out of it.

Red Bull have made the podium just twice this season, compared to last year when they finished in the top three ten times - an issue they have taken up with Renault.

"We don't want them to drop out. I think they (Red Bull) have sorted it all out now," Ecclestone told the Express.

Honda have failed to live up to expectations this season, having joined up with McClaren, meaning former World Champion Fernando Alonso has been stuck with an uncompetitive car, while former Red Bull driver Vettel has taken his seat and sees himself as they only real competition to Mercedes.

It is a growing problem for Ecclestone, who risks TV audiences declining further if the sport cannot provide the thrills, excitement and unpredictability that other sports can. Losing Red Bull won't help.

While it has been a good move for Vettel this season, his former team will be seriously considering whether their performances on the track are justifying their annual financial spend.

Other than the Williams team, who are also powered by a Mercedes engine, Ferrari has proved the only high-calibre engine to compete successfully in 2015.

Red Bull is more than just a sports team; they are a global brand. The company as a whole does not need F1 to be a success.

However, the sport needs the Buckinghamshire team on the grid come the start of next season to help their own brand. Ecclestone will be wishing for Red Bull to restore their faith and continue their nine-year partnership with Renault, in hope that next year will be vastly more competitive than the past six or seven seasons. It's time for a shake up.

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