Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has conceded defeat in this year’s world championship – and laid the blame squarely at the door of the Renault engines which power his senior team.
The Austrian said that while he was confident the RB5 was the best car on the grid and drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were the pick of the bunch, that was not enough to be victorious.
“They all do a great job and there is nothing to criticise because of the raised performance. However, this season clearly shows that the best car and the best drivers might not be enough,” the impresario is quoted as saying by Autosport.
“The reasons for this [us having already lost the championship] are that our engines are inferior to some of the competition, and the rules that limit the drivers to eight engines per season without testing or development.”
He added that he could see his team having to take a penalty in the next few races because of lack of reliability from the Renault powerplants.
“The first thing I expect is a ten places grid penalty because we will need a ninth engine,” he said. “You can never exclude to be successful and win again but I doubt whether we can achieve four top results from both our drivers now.
“We cannot even do a proper race preparation in free practice because we have to take care of our engines. Basically, these are very strange conditions under which we race.”
Mateschitz’s comments are unlikely to please Renault, who have troubles enough of their own at the moment. For next season, Red Bull are thought to want to switch to the Mercedes power that has been so instrumental in rival team Brawn’s success. But Mercedes-Benz’s rumoured buy-out of the Brawn team, in addition to their commitments to McLaren and Force India, make supplying a fourth team unlikely.