The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

Red Bull Eyes Exit from F1

21-05-2015

by Jack Target

vettel

Has success with Vettel convinced Ferrari to stay in F1?

Behind the backdrop of another Mercedes win in Spain came even stronger news that Red Bull are thinking of pulling out of F1. The team that won quadruple drivers and constructors championships may be leaving after only a year removed from their last victory. Audi are strongly rumoured to be in discussions about a possible take-over.

Formula 1 has hit some very hard times in the last couple of decades and now it faces another potential boring period with Mercedes dominating, only to be challenged by the person who won those four titles with Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel.

For Red Bull to leave F1 now would be huge. It could potentially be catastrophic. We are not just talking about a team who won a few races. The whole Red Bull organisation contributes a lot to motor racing.

The Austrian drinks company were a part of the new crop of teams challenging the front runners of Ferrari and McLaren who had dominated for so long. They were at the forefront starting in 2009 with Brawn who would later become Mercedes. Once they established themselves as a challenger they became the leader of the pack. This is not the likes of BAR and Jaguar.

Not only would it hurt F1 from a prestige standpoint but the financial and commercial hit could cause many problems. Red Bull is a huge brand that covers the globe with their horns. Not only do they own one Formula 1 team they own sister team Toro Rosso, two football (soccer) teams in New York and Salzburg and they have their extreme sports series.

The loss of Toro Rosso also runs a bit deeper than any other of the middling teams as they have provided some top drivers from their drivers programme. Vettel won his first race for them and now both Red Bull drivers are products of the programme that raced for the sister group. Finding that level of development will be hard to replace.

Red Bull also sponsor the Austrian circuit in Spielberg. The nation made a return to the racing calendar in 2014 after 11 years away, mainly down to the success of Red Bull. In an era of spreading the F1 money to countries which may not have had F1 before there was no real need for Austria to again host a grand prix. Red Bull’s rise to the top has made it possible. If the company were to leave the sport could we see the return of the Austrian GP as short lived?

Now the driver who won them those championships has moved to F1’s most famous team. Ferrari not so long ago were also making noise about leaving the sport. Now this would have been the biggest blow to F1. The team has been there since the very beginning. They connect all the constructers and drivers together. Ferrari and F1 are dependent on each other. It would almost feel wrong to call it Formula 1 if Ferrari were not involved.

When Ferrari mentioned they wanted to move they also talked about creating their own race series. It is not unconceivable for Red Bull to want to do the same. They could tie it in with their other sports quite easily. If successful it may be tempting for others to jump ship.

But that looks unlikely now thanks to someone who was one of their own. Sebastian Vettel’s transition to Ferrari red has been successful so far and looks to go from strength to strength. The German has revitalised the team and their huge support by winning their first race in a long time and has fans dreaming of a championship again.

Red Bull leaving F1 would cause huge fallout, but thankfully it looks like we will still have Ferrari in F1 for many years to come.