Famed Formula One engineer Adrian Newey, who is the chief technical officer at Red Bull Racing, has said that the team may leave F1 after rivals Mercedes and Ferrari refused to supply engines to the team in fear of the added competition.
"We're possibly going to be forced out of Formula One - Mercedes and Ferrari have refused to supply us out of fear," Adrian Newey said, according to the BBC.
He said the team would take a decision on whether to race in 2016 "well before" the end of the year "because design and manufacturing lead times are such that you need to know what you're putting in the car".
Newey, who moved to the team in 2007, was responsible for designing the cars that won Red Bull the constructors’ championship four years in a row – 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 – each time by 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who moved to Scuderia Ferrari at the start of the 2015 season. Vettel’s former teammate Daniel Ricciardo is still on the team, partnered by Russian racer Daniil Kvyat.
Red Bull were on Renault engines for that entire duration, but that relationship has become fraught this season, with the team growing increasingly displeased with the declining performance from the new V6 engines that were introduced in 2015, replacing the naturally-aspirated V8s that were previously used.
The Austrian team and the French automaker announced their ‘divorce’ earlier this year, following which Red Bull approached Mercedes in the hope that the British manufacturers, who supply Force India and Lotus in addition to their works team, would agree to supply to them in 2016.
Mercedes refused, however, a decision backed by team principal Toto Wolff, non-executive chairman Niki Lauda and primary driver Lewis Hamilton, who felt that it would be giving Red Bull a competitive advantage at the cost of victories for their own team.
Red Bull were also rejected by Ferrari for what are allegedly similar reasons, prompting speculation that they would either approach Honda or attempt to repair their relationship with Renault. Ricciardo and Vettel last partnered each other in the 2014 season, the German’s last at the team, a season that saw him outclassed by his Australian teammate.
However, Honda rubbished these rumours, saying they would not supply to any team besides McLaren, while Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn has said "We have already alerted the F1 authorities and told them: 'Don't count on us as a provider of an engine - it's over.;”
Renault have this year signed a letter of intent to take over team Lotus, which will return next year as the makers’ works team, once a successful marquee and the team with which Fernando Alonso won both his World Championships, in 2005 and 2006.
Although Ferrari have refused to supply Red Bull, they agreed to provide its junior outfit, Scuderia Toro Rosso, with engines for the 2016 season.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is said to be personally petitioning for Red Bull to stay in the sport, although the current situation for the team seems tenuous.