The future of Red Bull Racing is in serious doubt after both Ferrari and Mercedes refused to supply the Tilbrook team with engines for the 2016 season.
After nearly 18 months of in-house fighting with engine partner Renault, Christian Horner’s squad may be forced back to the French manufacturer, cap in hand, in a bid to stay in the sport next season.
The partnership between Renault and Red Bull began back in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2009 when they won their first race together.
After that, the team have been the class of F1, winning both titles from 2010-13 with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the wheel.
But since the introduction of the new regulations at the start of 2014, the relationship has turned sour, with Renault providing a sub-par engine compared to their competitors.
With both Mercedes and Ferrari - the current power-houses of F1 and providers of the best engines - fighting it out at the front of the grid, both have refused to allow Red Bull the opportunity to throw their hat into the 2016 ring by providing them with similar power trains capable of catapulting them to the front of the grid again.
It’s a problem that now leaves Red Bull Racing, and sister squad Toro Rosso, facing a genuine dilemma of whether or not to remain in F1 next season.
Horner held crisis talks at last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone in a bid to get either Ferrari or Mercedes back around the table for negotiations, but the German marque refused after talked earlier in the season fell flat.
Dietrich Mateschitz, owner of the Austrian energy drinks brand, has threatened to withdraw both his teams next season if the playing field isn’t made more even in 2016.
But with the potential withdrawing four cars from the grid, Mateschitz may yet hold the trump card as the negotiations to get a better engine rolls on.