One of the things that has gotten many F1 pundits and lots of fans in a tizzy this past week are the comments by both Red Bull's Bearded Leader Christian Horner and Helmut Marco expressing disgust over the team's change in fortunes, going so far as to say that the team could leave F1 if team owner Dietrich Mateschitz "looses his passion for F1." Words that were meant to capture attention, and they definitely did.
But how likely is Red Bull to leave F1? Well, if you look a bit deeper than last week's performance in Australia you quickly discover that there are a few tethers the team have to Formula 1... For example, just last year Formula 1 returned to Austria... Specifically Formula 1 returned to the newly renovated Red Bull Ring. The Red Bull Ring that Dietrich Mateschitz spent an estimated 70M Euros to renovate and attract Formula 1 and other race series back to the track. It seems highly unlikely that after spending that much money to bring the track up to F1 standards and working to bring the series back to Austria that Mr Mateschitz would be quite so willing to walk away from the series.
But look even closer. Red Bull is also a member of Formula 1's Strategy Group, they are entitled to participate in the Strategy Group for the same reason that Red Bull also received a greater share of the prize fund than several smaller teams - because they've committed to remain in the sport until 2020. Red Bull's not going anywhere anytime soon, no matter what the Bearded Leader is saying.
And let's not forget, as a member of the F1 Strategy Group, Red Bull was involved in the drafting and adoption of the rules. V6 Turbo Engines, fuel restrictions, 4 engines for the season, distribution of prize money, all of those things are determined by the Strategy Group. Red Bull signed off on every one of these changes. The Bearded Leader has admitted that he could have spoken up and blocked these rules - and decided not to.
It seems that this season Red Bull plans on playing the victim, and they're hoping that we'll all forget their role in putting Formula 1 into the state that it's in now. They're also hoping that we'll all forget how tone deaf they were during their four years at the top and other teams were pushing for the changes that Red Bull is pushing for now.
Red Bull can toss their toys out of the crib, they can threaten to hold their breath until they pass out, they can even threaten to take their ball and go home... But they played a big role in getting into this mess - and if they're not willing to put the effort into fixing the problem, they're going to be hard pressed to pack up and walk away.