Red Bull could leave if Audi don’t join them in F1

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Red Bull have already written off the 2015 season and now suggest they may leave the sport unless they can get a competitive engine package from Renault or perhaps Audi decide to come to Formula 1.

According to Red Bull Racing advisor, Dr. Helmet Marko, the team has had discussions but not necessarily with folks you would presume he was speaking with in regards to Audi’s possible decision to enter the sport:

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“There are so many rumours. Officially there was no request or talks. The VW Group first has to sort out who will be the new chief of support, who will run the brand of VW, and when they have sorted all these things maybe then they can think about what they are doing in motorsport.

“I was on the phone but not to the people you think.”

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The team are keen to have a complete package to enable them to be competitive and with the current Renault supply leaving them already on their fourth engine in the season and looming grid penalties ahead, they would like to see a new option but right now there is only Ferrari and Mercedes so the choices are very slim as far as engine supplies go.

The team could be spending in the neighborhood of $250-$350 million on their program and that’s a lot to spend to be narrowly inside the top ten on any given weekend—this from a team who clinched four titles in successive years.

The rumors of Audi coming to F1 have been going on for years now but with sister company, Porsche, in the WEC racing at Le Mans, it does seem odd to have two companies, both owned by VW, battling it out at the brand expense of the other.

Porsche has long been synonymous with Le Mans and Audi has nothing left to prove as they have dominated the series for a decade. Audi’s credibility may be great in sports car racing but many believe if they really want to be a contender, they should bring their operation to F1 and prove themselves on the ultimate proving ground.

If I were the chief of VW, I would want Audi beating my Porsche team as I would be trying to recapture the glory of the Porsche brand with Le Mans—that’s hard to do when Audi is beating your brains out.

If I looked at other places to really take on the might of German engineering, what better place than F1 and Mercedes? Red Bull would like to be their partners and why not?

Hat Tip: BBC Sport

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Tom Firth

Why wouldn’t Porsche want Audi to fight them at Le Mans? If Audi leaves, Porsche looks like it won because Audi wasn’t present, the same as Bentley winning in 2003. I’m fairly sure from a racing perspective, not from marketing or politics or what-not, Porsche would prefer to fight Audi for victory at Le Mans, as are doing this year.

As for them coming to F1, I’m bored of talking about it personally, so I’m just going to wait and see, if it happens that VAG announce an F1 programme, sure, if not, never mind.

jakobusvdl

Wouldn’t Porsche just focus on the fact they’d be beating Toyota, rather than not beating Audi?

Tom Firth

Well obviously beating Toyota and Nissan would be an objective for Porsche but the inter-company rivalry between Audi and Porsche is deeper than the WEC or Le Mans.

VAG knows this, it is why Porsche wasn’t veto’d from entering WEC in my opinion. I feel a victory for Porsche without getting one over on Audi would be less valuable for Porsche, beating Toyota and Nissan is a factor of course, but Audi is the core target.

Junipero Mariano

Audi has won Le Mans 12 out of the last 15 times, and 2 of the 3 WEC championships since WEC started, dominating in a fashion not seen since Porsche during the 70’s and 80’s. If Porsche repeats that same kind of success only after Audi had left, it would definitely stick in their craw a bit.

jakobusvdl

Fair comments Junipero, and Tom. I might be thinking a bit too narrowly about this, but having spent years and mega-bucks on Audi in WEC to build up its image, wouldn’t it undermine that to spend even more to have Porsche beat them?
From a VAG corporate point of view, wouldn’t it be better to have an ‘undefeated’ Audi move onto a new challenge, while porsche set about reclaiming their position at the forefront of sportscar racing?

Junipero Mariano

The amount of money being spent is a great point too. I wouldn’t bet on Audi v. Porsche lasting too long. Unless it just causes a boatload of VAG cars to be sold.

jakobusvdl

That’s the way I’m looking at it too. It would be a better spend for VAG to their money beating rival manufacturers than companies in the same stable. So where are audi going next?

Junipero Mariano

How about staying out of direct competition in F1 and providing customer cars that could be truly competitive?

jakobusvdl

Junipero, Tom, MIE, Runnah, I take it all back . This months EVO magazine #210, has an article about the recently deposed Chair of VAG Ferdinand Piech, and apparently VW, Audi and Porsche operate as separate entities, and Piech was a huge autosport fan and wanted the groups to fight each other. His view was that if Audi / Porsche can’t beat an ‘internal’ rival, the certainly won’t beat external competition.
So it might change under the new chair , but up until now its been gloves off and go for it!

Tom Firth

Yes, Porsche could of been Veto’d from entering Sportscars in LMP1, it wasn’t for that reason.

Tom Firth

I also don’t understand why Audi should go to F1 to prove something, prove what, against whom?

runnah

To prove that they are the best. WEC is great but it’s no F1 in terms of popularity and bragging rights.

Tom Firth

I don’t disagree with that, but does Audi really need motorsport for a marketing presence, whether that is F1 or sportscars or whatever?

I’m not sure whether Audi having inflated marketing presence in F1, is the best way for Audi to be marketed. Look at the impact of its product placement in films.

runnah

Would Audi in F1 move more units? Maybe. Would it raise the profile of the brand? Yes. Sure movies placements, Avengers 2 was jam packed with them, might sell more unit but racing adds more credibility to higher end customers who have those choose between the 3 big German brands.

Do you think Joe Blow CEO watches comic book movies or do they vacation in Monaco.

Tom Firth

Ok, using films was a bad example, given the films are in, I admit, but my point was are other ways to create credibility to higher end customers than entering into F1. BMW, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and practically every other high-end auto manufacturer except Ferrari (exotic) and Mercedes-Benz do so.

If Audi do enter F1, good luck to them, and I will support them, but I’m not convinced it is the best route for them in motorsport still, that said, I’m not certain staying in WEC is either, longer term.

jakobusvdl

Wouldn’t this be a great topic for Todd to interview Zac Brown about?
I’d love to hear how the manufacturers involved in various forms of motorsport justify that involvement and how they assess it against other marketing options.
Personally I don’t regard Mercedes more highly than Audi, BMW, Infiniti or Lexus because they are involved in F1. The sound of the C6.3 on the other hand…..

Tom Firth

I would be very interested to listen to that certainly.

MIE

‘I was on the phone, but not to the people you think’
SEAT or Skoda?

runnah

Dacia?

Junipero Mariano

Good news everyone, the Dacia engine is coming to F1!

Tom Firth

Dacia do have a racing programme in Sweden. It isn’t James May’s favourite car though.

mini696

Rover.

Will Irwin

I cannot imagine the VW group is too happy with this loose cannon (Marko) blabbing all over the media about their discussions, and his threats to quit the sport.

jakobusvdl

Are the guys at Red Bull F1 racing just looking for a lifeboat? Red Bull (energy drink sellers) have tipped mega millions into F1 over the last 10 years. From a marketing point of view, they’ve taken on the established teams, beaten them, dominated wdc and wcc four years. If you’re company is all about excitement and being on the edge, then struggling away for several more years to achieve something you have already achieved doesn’t suit the brand image. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dieter mateschitz isn’t looking for other marketing budget options that will be more exciting for… Read more »

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