Daniel Ricciardo has admitted Red Bull’s engine is not its only problem in 2015.
In and after Australia, the former champion team took its long-time partner Renault to task, with Red Bull officials suggesting the only problem with the RB11 is its ‘power unit’.
Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul hit back at those “lies”, but efforts are now being made to calm the waters in Malaysia.
“There are some tensions,” admitted lead Red Bull driver Ricciardo, “but the atmosphere in the team is still good.”
The Australian said “criticism” is normal in formula one, but it should always be “constructive”.
Ricciardo also appeared to back Renault’s argument that the engine is not the only problem at Red Bull in 2015.
“No one compares with Mercedes,” he insisted. “Neither on the engine side or the chassis side. They are in a different category.
“But I think that at least on the chassis side we are at the level of Williams and Ferrari.”
After a difficult season opener in Melbourne, Ricciardo said he is expecting a better weekend in Malaysia.
“Sometimes you have to go back a step to take two steps forward,” he said.
“So if we can manage to get the package as it was in Barcelona, it will look much better.”
There are plenty of rumours swirling around Red Bull at present, including the likely divorce with Renault, talks with Audi, plans to make a bespoke engine and even a complete withdrawal from the sport.
1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve said it is “possible” Red Bull will actually quit.
“Of course it’s possible,” he told Brazil’s Globo. “Will they be missed? Not really.”
Villeneuve said Red Bull’s argument that the rules are ‘killing’ F1 because of Mercedes’ dominance is not fair.
“There has always been dominance in formula one,” he insisted. “Last year Mercedes dominated and it was a great championship.
“Before them it was Red Bull, before that Ferrari, Williams, McLaren. Dominance is not a bad thing.”
Some journalists are speculating that there is more than meets the eye to Red Bull’s mischief-making.
The publications Auto Motor und Sport, Blick and Osterreich are all reporting rumours that owner Dietrich Mateschitz is looking to sell Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso and “take over from CVC as the main shareholder of formula one”. (GMM)