Bernie Ecclestone has warned Red Bull that he is not willing to let it quit Formula One without being dragged through the courts.
Red Bull was granted preferable terms in its bi-lateral contract with the sport's commercial rights holder when it signed up to race in Formula One until 2020, but is now threatening to quit the sport because it cannot find a competitive engine supply for 2016. Ecclestone has made clear he is not willing to let the energy drinks company leave without holding it to the terms of its deal.
"Red Bull would stand up in court and say: 'Yes, we have a commitment, we do, but we haven't got an engine'," Ecclestone told the Independent. "My argument would be: 'You signed the contract to compete. You should have made sure when you signed the contract that you had an engine. Your team was supposed to do this.'"
In the same interview, Ecclestone continued his campaign against Formula One's current V6 turbo engines when he threatened bring back the old V8 engines without the consent of the teams.
Such an outcome is unlikely as it would completely disregard the sport's rule making procedures, but with Red Bull still without an engine supplier for 2016 it appears Ecclestone is threatening to play hardball to get what he wants. Mercedes has dominated under the current engine regulations, and with Renault and Honda still struggling, only the German marque and Ferrari have competitive power units this year.
Ecclestone has been critical of the current engine regulations since their introduction last year and this week reiterated his belief that F1 should go back to the V8 engines it used between 2006 and 2013.
"I don't think we should get consent from the teams," he said. "I think we should just do it and say to them, 'If you don't like it you can go to arbitration'. We could get the V8s back next year. People can build them in no time so we ought to do it."