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Formula 1 - Red Bull threaten F1 exit

A Red Bull advisor has warned that the team could pull out of Formula One unless changes were made to the current regulations.

Red Bull are among a number of team frustrated by their inability to keep up with Mercedes, who dominated Formula One last year and cruised to an easy victory in Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix after a virtual procession.

Rival drivers described the race as "boring" and Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said if it went unchecked, it could drive other teams away and reduce interest in the sport.

Marko even suggested that Red Bull, who won four championships in a row before being left in the Mercedes slipstream, might pull out if the team's billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz lost interest.

Speaking to German-language media, Marko was quoted as saying: "We will evaluate the situation again as every year and look into costs and revenues.

"If we are totally dissatisfied we could contemplate an F1 exit.

"Yes, the danger is there that Mr Mateschitz loses his passion for F1."

Marko's comments came after Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told reporters that Formula One officials should take action to equalise the engine performances of every team to create a more level-playing field.

Red Bull made a disastrous start to the new season with Daniel Ricciardo getting lapped before finishing sixth in his home race.

Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has backed Red Bull's call for action to rein in Mercedes' engine advantage.

However, the 84-year-old played down talk of the former champions walking away from a sport they dominated only recently.

"They are absolutely 100 percent right," Ecclestone told Reuters on Monday when asked about Red Bull principal Christian Horner's statement that the governing FIA should apply an "equalisation mechanism" to narrow the gap.

"There is a rule that I think (former president) Max (Mosley) put in when he was there that in the event...that a particular team or engine supplier did something magic -- which Mercedes have done -- the FIA can level up things.

"They (Mercedes) have done a first class job which everybody acknowledges. We need to change things a little bit now and try and level things up a little bit," added the Briton.

Ecclestone said it was not a case of doing everything possible to stop Mercedes but simply to allow other manufacturers more flexibility.

"What we should have done was frozen the Mercedes engine and leave everybody else to do what they want so they could have caught up," he suggested. "We should support the FIA to make changes."

Ricciardo's new Russian team mate Daniil Kvyat didn't even make it to the grid, withdrawing before the start with gearbox failure.

"When we were winning, and we were never winning with an advantage that Mercedes has, double diffusers were banned, exhausts were moved, flexible bodywork was banned, engine mapping was changed mid-season - anything was done to pull us back," Horner told reporters.

"That was not just us, it was done to McLaren and Williams in other years.

"The FIA, within the rules, have an equalisation mechanism; I think it's something that perhaps they need to look at."

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had little sympathy for Red Bull, accusing their rivals of moaning because they were losing.

"If you try to beat each other and perform at the highest level and then you need equalisation after the first race - you cry out after the first race - that's not how we've done things in the past," Wolff said.

Source: https://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/formula-1-red-bull-hint-f1-exit-boring-055234378--f1.html