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We Hear: Red Bull May Quit F1 if it Can't Partner With Audi

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/13/2015 Kelly Pleskot

Red Bull is looking to ditch Renault as its F1 partner after a series of engine failures have plagued drivers all season. And according to new reports, Red Bull may back out of F1 racing altogether unless its fortunes change or it can secure a deal with Audi.

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According to BBC Sport, Red Bull director Helmut Marko said, "If we don't have a competitive engine in the near future, then either Audi is coming or we are out." But as F1 broadcaster and journalist James Allen points out, all signs point to the reality that Red Bull has narrowed it down to just two options: Audi or bust.

Securing a deal with Audi remains uncertain, as Marko says that Red Bull and Volkswagen Group hadn't officially sat down to discuss the matter. The issue is further complicated by the departure of former VW Group Chairman Ferdinand Piech, who unexpectedly resigned last month and had opposed an F1 entry. "The VW Group first has to sort out who will be the new chief of support, who will run the brand of VW, and when they have sorted all these things maybe then they can think about what they are doing in motorsport," Marko reportedly said. Audi chairman Rupert Stadler also declined to confirm the takeover. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

Red Bull is under contract to race with Renault through the 2016 season, and has committed to F1 racing until 2020. If Audi enters the picture, it could benefit from the $70 million a year that Red Bull receives in upfront cash as a top-paid racing team, as well as any potential prize money. Audi would also walk right into a pre-built team of top engineers and advanced technology, making the transition a little easier for everyone. Red Bull could benefit from Christian Horner, who led the team to four world titles and could choose to stay on with Audi in the future.

Audi has extensive experience in racing, dominating the track with its LMP cars. It was once believed that VW Group could select Porsche as its F1 star, as the maker of the 911 also has its own experience in F1 before it exited the series decades ago. Our colleagues at AUTOMOBILE last estimated that Audi, however, would need at least until 2021 to get ready for the championship with a new engine and chassis.

Source: James Allen on F1, BBC Sport

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