Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner has revealed that there was a lot of politics in play while the team were seeking their 2016 engine supply, with deals being apparently reneged on.
Horner and team owner Dietrich Mateschitz both thought they had agreed to move to Mercedes-power in 2016 before Toto Wolff decided not to supply engines to the team, while a similar story unfolded with Ferrari.
Horner understands the reasons behind Mercedes and Ferrari being reluctant to allow Red Bull to run with their engines, but was disappointed that they would have been happy to allow the company to disappear from F1 had they not been able to secure a Renault power supply for 2016.
“I think there is an awful lot more to it than meets the eye,” said Horner to Motorsport.com. “In the summer there were a lot of discussions. There were agreements between individuals that were later reneged upon, and an awful lot of politics put in to play.
“If you are a competitive team, then there is an obvious conflict within that team if you are a supplier [of engines] as well. The engines are the biggest performance differentiator in F1 at the moment: forget drivers and chassis to a degree.
“So you can understand why Mercedes and Ferrari wouldn’t be particularly keen to give their biggest asset to a competitive rival team. They tried very hard at a team level to achieve that.
“But this is where I think perhaps the rules needs looking at. It cannot be right that a group of manufacturers can get together and say, ‘we are happy to see Red Bull go to the wall.’”
Horner believes there is a much bigger issue at hand within the sport, with the disparity between the best and worst engine being far too big, while the costs of the power units he maintains is far too high.
“It is part of a bigger issue in Formula 1 – that firstly the power units that we were offered but were not available, some of them were in excess of 30 million Euros,” said Horner.
“Secondly they weren’t available and thirdly you have this massive disparity between the best and the worst. And that doesn’t make the racing any closer.
“So the FIA and the commercial rights holder need to grab a hold of it and come up with a more affordable, available, less-technical engine.”