Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz insists his energy drinks company never seriously considered quitting Formula 1 last year, despite its public fallout with Renault.
The soap opera surrounding Red Bull and its French manufacturer partner was one of the major talking points of the 2015 season, when relations broke down on the back of competitive struggles.
But despite the engine deal being terminated and Red Bull trying to get deals with Ferrari, Mercedes and Honda, in the end it had to go back to Renault for a deal that allows it to run rebranded TAG Heuer power units.
At the time there was talk that Red Bull could quit F1 if it could not get a competitive engine – but Mateschitz insists that its threats to leave were never too serious.
"Really, we never thought about it," said Mateschitz in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca on Monday.
"Although, in theory, there were always circumstances that could have made us go down that route, like for example, the obvious case of not having been able to secure a power unit supplier."
Verstappen like Senna
Red Bull has turned around its fortunes over the past 12 months, winning two races so far this year, and is now tipped to be Mercedes' main challenge for the title in 2017.
Mateschitz also expressed his delight at the way that Max Verstappen has progressed – and thinks he has the potential to become as big in F1 as former champion Ayrton Senna
When asked if he was the like the famous Brazilian, Mateschitz said: "If you consider his natural talent, his mental strength and the courage he has shown in the races, then yes.
"But he also needs to be capable of keeping his speed, his skills and his strength up for a period of several years. Nobody knows if that will happen, but we believe he has the potential."
Mateschitz also believes that Toro Rosso's Sainz has great promise – as he explained why the energy drinks company did not want to let the youngster go for next year.
"Carlos is a great sportsman, with a great personality, charisma and talent," he said.
"His problem is that with Max and Daniel we already have two great drivers at Red Bull and the performance of the Toro Rosso is not strong enough to challenge the leading drivers at Mercedes and Red Bull.
"I firmly believe that it will be good for Carlos to stay with our rookie team next another year, especially since we hope to improve significantly the performance of the car."
Additional reporting by Pablo Elizalde