Date: 12th May 2015 at 9:08am
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All season long Red Bull have been threatening to quit Formula One.

With the energy drinks company owning both Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, along with a huge driver development programme that filters through feeder series GP2 and GP3, it would be a major blow for elite motor sport.

But after four years of domination, taking consecutive constructor titles and winning the Formula One World Championship with Sebastian Vettel the team have been left behind.

In 2014, despite three Grand Prix victories, the team struggled and with 2015 being a season of evolution not revolution, Red Bull have remained on the back foot.

Red Bull are well adrift of Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams with Daniel Ricciardo lapped on his home Grand Prix on the opening race of the season and is already using his fourth engine of the season, putting him perilously close to a penalty and the season isn’t even half way through.

So what does the future hold for Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso?

The in-fighting between Red Bull bosses and Renault have seen both sides publicly confirm that neither side are adverse to walking away from Formula One altogether.

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s advisor Helmut Marko has stated on a number of occasions that Red Bull could quit Formula One as Mateschitz grows disillusioned with the sport following the end of the teams dominance.

If they cannot become competitive with Renault then what options do Red Bull have? They would not want to become a customer of either Mercedes or Ferrari and even if Honda became competitive, they wouldn’t want to be on parity with McLaren either.

They’ve also stated that they are not interested in developing their own engine.

They ideally need Renault to recover as they hold a contract with them until the end of 2016, or simply look for a new long-term partner and Helmut Marko wants to see Audi enter the sport.

Audi have dominated Endurance Racing over the past decade with a number of Le Mans titles, their Hybrid Engine has proved to be the best and that technology could hypothetically transfer well into the world of v6 hybrid-turbo Formula One.

‘If we don’t have a competitive engine in the near future, then either Audi is coming or we are out,’ Marko told the BBC.

Audi and the VW Group [which along with Audi and VW includes brands such as Porsche, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Seat] have in the past been against the notion of entering Formula One due to chairman Ferdinand Piech not holding a good personal relationship with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

However 78-year-old Piech resigned from his position in April.

‘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. Marko added, suggesting that perhaps their involvement in Formula One could be an option.

In fact Audi chairman Rupert Stadler is pro Formula One, but an F1 entry was vetoed as recently as January by Piech. Once Audi announce Piech’s replacement things will become clearer.

 

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