Wolff says Formula 1 can survive without Red Bull

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Formula 1 is strong enough to cope with the loss of Red Bull and Toro Rosso if they quit grand prix racing, but admits their absence would not be good for the sport.

The future of the two Red Bull teams remains in doubt with neither having an engine deal in place for next year, and company owner Dietrich Mateschitz admitting that it will not accept anything but a top-line power unit.

With Mercedes having decided against a deal, and Ferrari resistant to supplying a 2016-spec engine, Red Bull's future is hanging in the balance.

Wolff admits that the best outcome would be keeping them in, even though there is nothing he can do to influence the situation now.

Speaking at the Camp Beckenbauer conference about if he thought Red Bull would leave F1, Wolff said: "I hope not.

"Red Bull is a very hip brand and important for F1, and I hope they make it on to the grid. I hope they find an engine supplier.

"Negotiations are ongoing but not with us – so let's see how it pans out. Definitely losing Red Bull and Toro Rosso would not be good for F1."

Damage to sport

There have been concerns that a Red Bull withdrawal would cause huge damage to F1's image, and potentially leave other teams' future in jeopardy.

Wolff is not so convinced that F1 would not bounce back from such a situation though, citing the fact that the sport weathered the spell where Toyota, BMW and Honda left in quick succession.

"I think that in the current circumstances it is important to keep all teams, but we have seen teams coming and going," he said.

"I am not saying that Red Bull is not different to the others, [because] it is a great brand.

"But a couple of years ago, within the space of 18 months, we had Toyota, Honda and BMW leaving the sport. They were three great constructors and F1 survived.

"So our emphasis at the moment must be on trying to keep them in the sport. If we cannot because it is taken out of our hands, then I think it [F1] is [still] going to survive."

Dominance not to blame

One factor that has contributed to the Red Bull situation is that there are currently only two engine manufacturers able to offer fully competitive products.

But Wolff insists that such a state of affairs is only temporary, and within a short space of time he thinks both Renault and Honda will be battling at the front.

"We had times in F1 when you had just one engine supplier that was successful, and years when there were many more," he said.

"The truth is that when you look at the years from 2010 onwards, Renault won four championships in a row and years before it was the same

"At the moment, Ferrari and Mercedes supply engines which are the most competitive on a pretty equal level, but Renault have a lot of capable people and a tremendous track record.

"I think if you give them the necessary time and if you support them with the right resources, they are very much capable of bringing the right engine.

"Honda is a fantastic global car company, high tech in hybrid, and I have no doubt they will come into F1 strong.

"But there is one thing in F1 that money cannot buy, which is time. So you have to manage expectations and set the right targets. But have no doubt; give it two years and Renault and Honda are going to be competitive again."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Red Bull Racing , Mercedes
Article type Breaking news