There has been another twist to the Red Bull saga with Pirelli admitting they could exit the sport should the Milton Kyenes team quit F1 along with Toro Rosso.
Formula 1 is facing tricky times as Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has threatened to withdraw his Red Bull and Toro Rosso outfits if they fail to find a fast and reliable engine supplier for 2016.
Red Bull are currently in negotiations with Ferrari, but one of the contentious issues is the fact that they want engine parity with the Scuderia’s works team.
Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, has admitted that the situation is now at a “critical” stage, especially for Toro Rosso,. It now appears that Mateschitz’s exit could prompt Pirelli to follow suit.
When asked if it would consider it’s future if the two teams withdraw, Hembery told Autosport: “It would make us think very heavily, yes. To lose two high quality, well-funded, professional teams – and I can’t imagine there would be immediate replacements, even though we have Haas entering next year – then you are going to be worried.
“I know people say teams come and go, but we are talking about a very serious investment made over a significant number of years by Red Bull, and from our point of view, it would weaken the sport dramatically. For us, they are two very important teams.”
Red Bull won four Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship from 2010 to 2013 when Sebastian Vettel was still with the team while they have also brought through exciting talents, with Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat currently driving for Red Bull while Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz are with STR.
“We admire what they’ve done for the sport in terms of driver development; they work at grassroots, bringing drivers through to Formula 1, from Sebastian Vettel to the four talents they have this year,” Hembery said.
“They’re also a team that goes outside of the Formula 1 circus to promote the sport, they invest significant sums of money in going to new locations, taking F1 to the streets of cities that don’t stage F1 to try and create interest.
“So from our point of view, as a sponsor, any risk of losing both those teams would be a significant disaster for Formula 1.”
Meanwhile, BBC Sport reports that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is under pressure to apppoint Michelin as the sport’s new tyre supplier as “leading teams’ and drivers’ faith in Pirelli has diminished in recent months and there is a widespread concern about whether it is the right company for F1”.
“There is a number of people making that position clear to Bernie,” a leading figure, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.