My apologies if this sounds crass but for those fans who say that Red Bull Racing are whiners and to not the let the door hit them in the arse on their way out, they confuse me.
I get your frustration with the team and their 4-time title success and perhaps you don’t like the whining etc. I understand but there is a completely different side to this equation. RBR are a massive privateer who spend million in Formula 1 and have done so at a very critical time for F1. They represent what is best about F1 and privateers…something even Ron Dennis can’t claim these days with his Honda woes.
I’ve said it before, RBR’s possible departure from the sport is a huge void and will have a bad knock-on effect. “You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall” to borrow a phrase.
If you can look beyond your fan bias, I think you’ll see that their participation in F1 is critical right now. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe Pirelli when they said:
“It would make us think very heavily, yes,” said motorsport director Paul Hembery.
“To lose two high quality, well-funded, professional teams – and I can’t imagine there would be immediate replacements, even though we have Haas entering next year – then you are going to be worried.
“I know people say teams come and go, but we are talking about a very serious investment made over a significant number of years by Red Bull, and from our point of view, it would weaken the sport dramatically.”
RBR are not HRT or Caterham, folks. This team is essential to F1’s health just as Ferrari and Mercedes are. Few people are willing to invest this heavily in the series right now but Dietrich Mateschitz is one who is. Sure, manufacturers are…well, a couple of them anyway but they can come and go.
What we’re looking for is stability like Williams and McLaren who are privateers and long-time pundits in the game. RBR has resources much greater than either of those entities and it will be a truly sad day if they leave.
Before you start accusing me of having a big fan bias, you may recall that I am actually a Ferrari fan so I have no knife in this fight. I am just looking at it objectively. The team I like should offer to provide engines to RBR full-song without old software or components. Sure, RBR have Adrian Newey but we have James Allison. If either team wins, it’s still a Ferrari victory.
Now, perhaps Pirelli’s comments are being tainted by a story I read this morning about top teams in F1 putting pressure on Bernie Ecclestone to go with Michelin instead of Pirelli in the future. Maybe Pirelli is not feeling the love but I don’t think that’s the reason for Paul’s logic here. I think Paul is spot on and he knows the value RBR brings to the sport. So does Bernie Ecclestone.
On a final note, it’s not lost on me that much of this is politics and positioning for control and the best deal. It is also concerning that there is a whiff of rats leaving a sinking ship given the current state of F1 with outrageously expensive hybrid engines and the pendulum having swung way too far toward the engineering wonks. It’s an untenable regulatory specification and perhaps teams just need an excuse to bow out of a series that isn’t making sense anymore for their brand etc. Who knows?
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT