Dietrich Mateschitz has denied that Red Bull ever seriously contemplated pulling out of F1.
A year ago, the energy drink brand’s billionaire mogul threatened to withdraw both of his teams from the sport amid Mercedes’ dominance and a struggle to find an engine supplier for 2016.
But when asked by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca this week if he is still thinking about quitting F1, Mateschitz answered: “Actually, I never thought of it.
“Of course there were circumstances that could have led us to take that route, for example obviously if we did not have a power unit supply,” said the Austrian.
But 72-year-old Mateschitz is much happier in late 2016, with Toro Rosso stepping up to Renault power for next season and Red Bull now Mercedes’ closest challenger at the top.
Not only that, Red Bull has two of the best young drivers under contract, including Max Verstappen, who is being compared to Ayrton Senna.
Asked about the Senna comparison, Mateschitz said: “If you consider his natural talent, mental strength and courage he has shown in the races, then yes.
“But he also has to be able to maintain that speed, skills and strength over a period of several years. Nobody knows if this will happen, but we believe he has the potential.”
And waiting impatiently in the wings for a better seat, meanwhile, is Carlos Sainz.
Asked if the young Spaniard is another future world champion, Mateschitz agreed: “Yes, he can be.
“His problem is that with Max and Daniel (Ricciardo) we already have two great drivers in the Red Bull seats and the performance of Toro Rosso is not enough to challenge the front runners.
“But I firmly believe that it will be good for Carlos to continue in our rookie team for another year,” he added. “Especially as we hope to be able to significantly improve the car’s performance.”