JANUARY 22, 2016
Early 2016 to be challenging for Red Bull
With the engine supply crisis of last year finally over, Red Bull is not ruling out staying in F1 even beyond 2020.
Christian Horner, the energy drink team's boss, told F1 Racing magazine that it was "absolutely" a possibility that the situation of 2015 could have left Red Bull without an engine to fire this year.
He said team owner Dietrich Mateschitz had also become "disillusioned" with the sport and its direction, but is now looking to the "medium and long-term future".
When asked if 'long term' means beyond Red Bull's current contractual commitment to the sport to 2020, Horner nodded.
"You can never say never, it depends on what direction the sport takes. But as long as things move in the right direction and formula one remains credible and viable, then I don't see any reason why not," he said.
Horner said that after the competitive and political slump of 2015, the future is now much brighter for Red Bull, even though it will still have Renault power.
But although the engines will be re-branded Tag-Heuer, Red Bull will reportedly enjoy engine parity with the factory team, whose French parent is ramping up its effort financially.
"We're probably set for quite a challenging first quarter in 2016," admitted Horner, "but then with each new power unit, the situation should improve. That clearly and realistically has to be the goal."
He said the re-branding of the Renault engines is actually a good thing.
"The team has a real attraction and appeal," said Horner, "and to attract brands such as Tag, who have been synonymous with McLaren for so many years, demonstrates the commercial value that Red Bull holds, even after such a difficult year.
"People believe in the future. Yes we've been down, but we will be back -- it's only a matter of time," he insisted.