Date: 15th December 2015 at 11:05am
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Would Formula One have collapsed if Red Bull had withdrawn from the sport at the end of 2015?

At one time it seemed a real possibility, Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz was becoming increasing disillusioned with the sport.

After four years of winning, with four constructors championships and four successive drivers titles for Sebastian Vettel between 2010 and 2013, Red Bull tumbled down the pecking order in Formula One after the introduction of the new V6 Turbo-Hybrid power-units.

Renault’s once dominant engine struggled against the might of the Mercedes and Ferrari.

In 2014, Daniel Ricciardo managed to capitalise on Mercedes slip ups to win on three occasions, but in 2015, Red Bull Racing were further adrift than they had been since 2008 and the days of David Coulthard and Mark Webber.

To turn the tide, Red Bull wanted to secure new power-units for both the Red Bull Racing team and sister team Toro Rosso, but were unable to do a deal with Mercedes, Ferrari or even Honda.

This led to the possibility of both teams being withdrawn for 2016, however a late deal with Renault to re-brand the engine under TAG Heuer sponsorship was concluded for Red Bull, whilst Toro Rosso will run with 2015-specification Ferrari power-units.

The new deals keep all four cars on the grid for next season.

‘I think the sport, especially how it is now? I’m not saying it’s in a bad place, but if it lost two teams, then yeah, it would be in a bad place, I just don’t think the sport would survive.’ Ricciardo told Motorsport.com.

In another interview with Motorsport.com, Ricciardo said that he believes Mercedes dominance will continue into 2016.

‘How far are they ahead? Too far, I honestly think they increased the gap this year, and obviously Ferrari caught up a little bit.

‘But when [Mercedes] really wanted to turn it on, they could. They’ll still be the team to beat next year and they will be hard to beat, but hopefully it doesn’t go on too much longer.’

 

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