Dietrich Mateschitz has confessed that he doubts Red Bull Racing engine partner Renault will be sticking around in F1 for the long-term, despite the French manufacturer having elected to not entirely pull the plug on its top flight participation at the end of last year.
Following considerable speculation regarding its F1 future, Renault sold out a majority 75 per cent stake in its Enstone-based outfit to Luxembourg investment firm Genii Capital in December, albeit retaining an interest in the team and keeping its name above the door.
Many question, however, just how long the company – which suffered significant losses in the wake of the global credit crunch, and whose CEO Carlos Ghosn is known not to be a particular motor racing fan – will continue to be involved in the sport.
With Red Bull having already tried unsuccessfully to switch to Mercedes-Benz power last summer due to reported dissatisfaction with the output and reliability of Renault's 2.4-litre V8, Mateschitz was quick to dismiss any suggestions of an increased relationship now that the 'works' team is effectively no more.
“I doubt it, because I suspect Renault does not intend to be in Formula 1 for so long,” the 65-year-old billionaire told Austrian newspaper the Salzburger Nachrichten
. “That Renault does not have a long-term connection is for us a little bit of an uncertainty.”