Daniel Ricciardo thinks Formula 1 risked collapse if Red Bull's teams had been driven out of the sport amid their engine crisis.
The fate of Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso was uncertain for much of the year as the teams struggled to find a competitive power unit for 2016.
And although in the end a solution has been found for next year, with Red Bull running rebranded Renault engines and Toro Rosso using year-old Ferraris, a longer term solution has not yet been finalised.
Ricciardo, who faced a year on the sidelines if Red Bull had quit, thinks that the situation may have affected the wider sport if the teams had gone - and F1 may not have pulled through.
"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," Ricciardo told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview at the Perth Speed Fest.
"I just don't think the sport would survive."
Politics no distraction
Although the doubts about Red Bull continuing proved a drama for the team's management, Ricciardo said he was able to shut himself away from the politics.
"I was kept up to date with enough, enough to be confident that I'd stay on the grid next year," he said.
"I didn't need to know all the details – it is my business, but it's not really my business.
"I was just happy to get on with the driving. But obviously I would ask the team 'how's it looking?' and 'do I have to start looking elsewhere?'"
Interview by Andrew van Leeuwen