Oct.10 (GMM/Inautonews.com) As the Red Bull engine crisis continues to unfurl, F1 seems increasingly destined to lose the energy drink company.
As almost unprecedentedly-frenzied negotiations took place in the Sochi paddock on Friday, every iteration had its moment — talks involving Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, and all with the involvement now of Bernie Ecclestone.
“There was a lot to discuss,” Mercedes’ Toto Wolff told Bild newspaper.
Publicly, F1 supremo Ecclestone said the issue was “sorted”, and that Dietrich Mateschitz would ultimately be “ok”, but to his closest confidantes, the 84-year-old just shrugged.
Renault sounds reluctant to heal the wounds caused by years of sniping about its engines, and Mercedes and Ferrari are ruling out working with Red Bull.
“Without their cooperation, there is no Red Bull”, a source close to Ecclestone told The Times. “And you think they care if Red Bull walk away?”
Indeed, they would benefit to the tune of extra millions in newly-inherited official income, with the Telegraph newspaper claiming Mercedes is already making approaches to what soon could be Red Bull’s out-of-work top engineers.
A careworn Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said late on Friday: “There are lots of discussions going on but nothing is concluded, nothing is confirmed.
“Millions of fans support this team and they will not want to see it lost like this.”
Indeed, while there may be some sympathy for Red Bull outside of the paddock as Horner suggests, many inside the inner sanctum believe the Austrian outfit brought on its own crisis.
“The situation is quite difficult to understand,” McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso said at Sochi as the rumours swirled.
“It does seem like a strange situation but I think that for the sake of the sport, they need to find a solution,” he is quoted by Russia’s Championat.