Christian Horner has indicated that Red Bull's threat to quit Formula 1 should be taken seriously, even if he says it is working hard to ensure it remains in the sport.
Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has repeatedly indicated that he would pull the drinks' company out of F1 if the team cannot be competitive, a matter made all the more pressing now its divorce with Renault is almost complete, which subsequently leaves it or Toro Rosso with no engine deal for 2016.
Indeed, with preferred option Mercedes refusing to supply its engines over fears it would be assisting a main rival, Ferrari is now Red Bull's only viable option for next season.
However, with a deal reportedly stuttering over Ferrari's reluctance to accept Red Bull's call for parity in terms of updates and developments, the Austrian firm is running out of time get its plans in order.
Should such an agreement not be reached, Mateschitz maintains Red Bull will not stay in F1, a threat that Horner indicates needs to be taken seriously or face losing two teams, four cars and possibly a round of the championship.
“Dietrich Mateschitz, he doesn't talk very often but when he does you have to sit up and take notice – and I think he's somewhat disillusioned with Formula One at the moment,” Horner said. “He's been very consistent in that statement.
“It's my job to try and find a solution. We have a big commitment to Formula One, a big workforce, a very talented team and I'm doing my best to try and ensure that we find a competitive engine to power the team next year.
“Of course if that's not the case there is a risk because Red Bull's position is different to teams such as McLaren or Williams or Ferrari. Formula One has to provide a return. A marketing return globally. And, in order to do that, you need to be able to not be restricted in terms of the tools at your disposal.”
Indeed, Horner insists Red Bull is working hard behind the scenes because it wants to stay in the sport, but plays down the influence of the 2020 agreement contracting it to F1, saying 'circumstances change'.
“As Bernie Ecclestone would say, circumstances change and circumstances now are very different, obviously, to when we entered into that agreement. Our intention is to find a solution and there's an awful lot of work going on in the background to try and find a solution.
“Some of that is out of our hands but rest assured that every effort is going in to ensure that Red Bull will be here until 2020 and hopefully beyond, but there's some big questions that obviously need answering.”