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Red Bull boss prepared to 'let Ricciardo go'

  • Published on 22 Mar 2018 09:39
  • comments 9
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Red Bull's chassis and drivers can do the rest if its Renault engine is within half a second of Mercedes this year. That is the view of team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, as he gave a rare pre-season interview to Austrian media including Salzburger Nachrichten. First, he said he is delighted with Toro Rosso's shift to Honda power, saying the Japanese engine is "on par with Renault".

As for Red Bull Racing, he said the 2018 car is "outstanding". "We think we are closer to the top than last year. In both chassis and engine," said the billionaire. "We don't know much about what Mercedes did over the winter with the engine, but if we are within half a second, we can catch up with our drivers and our chassis," Mateschitz added.

Beyond that, he said Red Bull hasn't yet decided whether it will switch to Honda engines for 2019. "We have to see how the season develops," said the Austrian. "We don't know our speed in qualifying mode yet, even if it looks good over a race."

Mateschitz said he is also happy with the drivers, even though Daniel Ricciardo's contract is ending. Asked if the Australian is staying, he answered: "You'll have to ask him that. After a long collaboration, probably everyone is looking for a new challenge, especially if a top team is offering. We'll let him go if he wants, but we'll be happy if he stays. And if he leaves, we have good guys at Toro Rosso. But all of this is a problem for later," Mateschitz said.

Finally, he spoke about Liberty Media's decision to ban grid girls, calling it a "Punch and Judy show". "Formula one has more important things to do than debate about grid girls," he added. "We're thinking about having grid boys in Spielberg with six packs and lederhosen. You don't have to react to everything so seriously," said Mateschitz.

Replies (9)

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  • If Ricciardo leaves, Max will be able to ask whatever money he wants

    • + 0
    • Mar 22 2018 - 09:44
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,168

      Not really. He signed a contract already. It's actually more of an common sense approach to Ricciardo's situation. This up to both to decide what they want ; but if the team has had enough of not knowing they will make the decision for him by signing another driver. Redbull are an fantastic team to drive for so unsettling and going for another team won't be an easy decision for Daniel. If Honda does well with Toro Rosso I'd expect him to sign for 2 more years on the same salary as Max.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 10:15
    • FatMike

      Posts: 153

      I think max gives a rats ass about the money. As long as he can race in a good car and his expenses are covered to the extend that he can maintain this lifestyle hell prolly doesnt think about the money (yet). I actually think Max will value having ricciardo as a teammate more than anything else. I mean whats the alternative? Sainz. We already know how toxic that will be very quick. That will probably not bring the team any further.
      I greatly admire Hartley's resolve and past wins. Also Gasly seems like a decent driver.... but both not really F1 race winning material.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 10:59
    • Max has only one thing in mind, and that will be world champion as soon as possible. It will be a concern to him whether he earns much or little money at this stage of his career. Records also say little to him. But unlike Ricciardo, Max has quickly made a decision to extend his contract. And really not on the basis of all the nice weather talk from Marco and Horner alone. But according to my idea purely by demanding an escape clause from RB. Ricciardo replaces his chances in my opinion if he waits too long to make a decision. I think if Ricciardo, just like Max, had promised his trust to RBR at an early stage, he would have had a much better negotiating position. As he waits, the negotiating position deteriorates.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 11:52
    • Fair enough, but I think Ricciardo did the wiser thing. He is checking the options, and if he find something better, he'll jump ship. Meanwhile, Max is for better or worse stuck at Red Bull. In the long run, Ricciardo have the stronger position, because he isnt tied to RB.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 17:05
  • That's Red Bull... either you are the chosen one and get special treatment, or you're an accessory. Ricciardo is a proven top 3 driver (you decide who are the other two). I can't imagine any other team acting so cool about losing that kind of driver. Dietrich talks as if they had some amazing talent in Toro Rosso or anywhere else in their pipeline. They do have Carlos Sainz, but I'm not even sure he'd want to go to Red Bull to be a #2 driver and abandon a promising works team. Gasly and Hartley are unproven. They definitely didn't impress anyone last year. If Ricciardo stays, I hope it costs them a lot of money.

    • + 1
    • Mar 22 2018 - 18:45
    • Why would you think Ricciardo can turn to Mercedes or Ferrari? Because everyone says it? I think they are less likely to jump Ricciardo at Mercedes and Ferrari than they want to show in the media. And do not be mistaken in Marko's psychological working method. Hard calling in the media that you as a team do not worry if Ricciardo leave, all belongs to the game that is being played. The light only just touches which of the two will sweat the hardest. As far as known now, there has not yet been a concrete approach towards Ricciardo from Mercedes or Ferrari.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 22:10
    • dr002

      Posts: 141

      ….. but if there has been a concrete offer from Mercedes or Ferrari, would either party admit it this early in the season? Ricciardo wouldn’t, because he’d still want to fight and be on level terms with Verstappen, and nor would Ferrari and, in particularly Mercedes, as they’d both want to maintain an incentive for their number 2’s to perform.

      From a negotiating standpoint, Dietrich’s comments about being ok with Ricciardo moving on is certainly a masterstroke, as it leaves Ricciardo with less bargaining power, both in terms of negotiating with another team, and if that falls through, returning to negotiations with Redbull.

      I personally rate Ricciardo much higher than the two Dads racing for Ferrari. I’ve never been a fan of Vettel’s, as I think his previous success was born out of having a superior car whilst at the time driving for a superior outfit that gave him every advantage as the team’s number one driver. This is surely evidenced by the numerous times over the past two years (some epic) where he has shown himself to be mentally fragile with a real sense of entitlement.

      Dietrich’s posturing’s would appear to indicate that Ricciardo has been slated as the team’s number two driver in favour of securing a ‘Youngest-Ever World Champion’ title for Verstappen. So if Ricciardo is to sign up as a number two driver for any of the top three teams, he would surely be looking to secure Raikkonen’s seat, as he’d have a much better chance of deposing Vettel, than Hamilton or Verstappen.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 23:51
    • dr002

      Posts: 141

      ....... but then again, I know it would never happen, but I reckon it would be fantastic to see Hamilton replace Raikkonen and take on Vettel mano a mano in '19, and have Ricciardo move to Mercedes!!

      • + 0
      • Mar 23 2018 - 00:12

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