Red Bull might be forced to quit Formula 1 if Renault follow through with their own threats to exit the sport, according to Christian Horner.
The French manufacturer is weighing up various options which could include buying Toro Rosso to expand its marketing potential, or it could leave F1 according to boss Cyril Abiteboul.
That latter scenario could see Red Bull exit too, according to Horner, who said it was unlikely Mercedes or Ferrari would supply it with engines.
“I think you have to – like with all these things – look at the context that comment was made in,” he said of Helmut Marko’s recent threat to pull Red Bull out of F1. “I didn’t make that comment, it was a comment by Helmut.
“I think what he was trying to refer to was that should we find ourselves in a situation where… we could ultimately find ourselves without an engine supplier. Should Renault choose to withdraw, Mercedes wouldn’t supply Red Bull with an engine and Ferrari – it’s unlikely we’d be in a position to take a Ferrari engine. So you could find yourself actually forced out of the sport.”
Whilst Red Bull receives preferential treatment from Bernie Ecclestone and CVC after cutting a deal, which binds the team to F1 until 2020, Horner explained that it’s normal for any company to review its involvement in something.
“As with any company Red Bull again reviews its return on investment,” he added. “Is F1 developing for Red Bull as a brand? There are some worrying signs when we see races like we saw in Melbourne.
“But hopefully that’s one chapter in a long story. I think there’s a long season ahead of us. Red Bull want to compete, Red Bull want to be in F1 and we want to try and address some of the issues that are currently plaguing the sport that we don’t seem to be able to find any traction on.”