Red Bull Steps Up Pressure On Formula One Authorities, Threatens Walkout

Red Bull stepped up the pressure on F1’s authorities "to rein in Lewis Hamilton’s rampant Mercedes team with veiled threats" that it could walk out of the sport, according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Tempers "frayed in the Red Bull motorhome after the Australian Grand Prix" as Red Bull complained that Renault, its engine maker, was giving them power packs worse than it had last season. Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said he wanted the FIA governing body to step in to "equalize" the power output of all three manufacturer engines on the grid so that there would be competition.

But Helmut Marko, adviser to Red Bull co-Owner Dietrich Mateschitz, "went further, warning that the company may be compelled to walk away if the Red Bull team could not get back on terms with Mercedes," which won easily on Sunday after winning both the drivers’ and constructors’ World Championships last season. Marko said, "We will evaluate the situation again [in the summer] as every year and look into costs and revenues. If we are totally dissatisfied we could contemplate an F1 exit" LONDON TIMES.

SKY SPORTS' Pete Gill reported the warning "comes despite Red Bull having signed a deal with F1’s commercial right controller," F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, committing itself until '20. Ecclestone said that he did not think Mateschitz would walk away simply because his team was not "dominating anymore." He said, "Whether they will, who knows? Dieter is a sporting guy and I don't think he'll stop because he's being beaten. He's more likely to stop if he was winning" SKY SPORTS.

SUPREMO SUPPORT: REUTERS' Alan Baldwin wrote Ecclestone "backed Red Bull's call for action to rein in Mercedes' engine advantage and make races more competitive." When asked about Horner's statement that the FIA should apply an "equalization mechanism" to narrow the gap, Ecclestone said, "They are absolutely 100 percent right." He added, "There is a rule that I think (former president) Max (Mosley) put in when he was there that in the event … that a particular team or engine supplier did something magic — which Mercedes have done — the FIA can level up things." Ecclestone said that "it was not a case of doing everything possible to stop Mercedes but simply to allow other manufacturers more flexibility." Ecclestone: "What we should have done was frozen the Mercedes engine and leave everybody else to do what they want so they could have caught up. We should support the FIA to make changes" REUTERS.

In Melbourne, Mark Fogarty wrote the reason the Mercedes AMG team is set to be even more dominant this year "is simple, going back to the axiom of effort and expenditure." The groundwork was laid in '12, "when Mercedes began developing its turbocharged V6 hybrid powertrain a year earlier than the other F1 engine suppliers." The team is reported to have spent A$600M ($458M) to be ready for last year's radical change in the technical regulations and "it continues to reap the benefit of that commitment." While Red Bull's threat to withdraw if Renault does not lift its game "is mostly saber-rattling, tensions are certainly strained" and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo's hope rest with the French car-maker delivering on its promise of more performance and better reliability. THE AGE.

MERCEDES ROW: In Sydney, Daniel Johnson wrote Mercedes was involved "in a bitter row" with its rivals who were demanding an urgent shake-up of the rules. Their pleas "drew a withering response" from Mercedes Exec Dir Toto Wolff, who urged them to "get your f—— head down, work hard and try to sort it out" before suggesting those "moaning" should make their complaints at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Horner said, "Take nothing from Mercedes, they have done a super job. … The problem is that the gap is so big that you end up with three-tier racing and that is not healthy for Formula One." Wolff "was having none of it." Wolff: "If you come into Formula One, try to beat each other and perform at the highest level and then you need equalization after the first race — you cry out after the first race — that's not how we've done things in the past." Asked whether he feared another political season, Wolff replied, "It is always a political season. It was last year and it is this year." SYDNEY MORNING HERALD.

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