Mercedes-Benz refused to supply Red Bull Racing in F1 2010 because 'they knew that if we had that engine, they wouldn't see us' – that is the assertion of the energy drinks manufacturer's famously outspoken motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko.
It was strongly rumoured over the summer of last year that Red Bull was endeavouring to ditch its Renault powerplants to switch to Mercedes for the recently-begun campaign – and when nothing ultimately came of those efforts, the general belief was that either McLaren-Mercedes or Brawn GP, or perhaps even both, had vetoed the move, given that it would have meant four teams being supplied with what is widely-regarded as the best engine in F1 by the three-pointed star in 2010.
Now, however, Marko has stated that the truth behind the matter is that in the knowledge that it was to re-launch an official 'works' entry in the top flight this year – the return of the iconic 'Silver Arrows' as Mercedes Grand Prix, what was Brawn GP – it was the Stuttgart marque itself that decided against doing a deal.
“They didn't want us,” the former grand prix ace told Austrian television chain Servus TV
. “Without being arrogant, they knew that if we had that engine, they wouldn't see us [on the track].”
Marko added that the ongoing engine development freeze in F1 has penalised the likes of Renault and Ferrari, and confirmed that Mercedes' rivals are repeatedly petitioning governing body the FIA to even things out a bit more.
“What we are trying now, and what Renault and Ferrari have also tried, is that we do an equalisation of the engine situation,” the 66-year-old explained.
After the Red Bull-Renault relationship was weakened through rather too many technical and mechanical issues and failures in 2008 and 2009 – at one stage late last year, even threatening to earn Sebastian Vettel a ten-place grid penalty for running out of engines to use – the Milton Keynes-based squad's challenge has not got off to the best of starts in 2010 either, with the young German being denied victory and even a podium finish at all in the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir at the weekend when a spark plug let him down.
RBR team-mate Mark Webber's car, meanwhile, let out several plumes of smoke around the opening lap in the desert kingdom – with the resulting lack of visibility for following drivers ostensibly causing the coming-together between the Force India of Adrian Sutil and, somewhat ironically, Robert Kubica's Renault.