Pirelli's future in Formula 1 in doubt if Red Bull walks away

Paul Hembery claims Pirelli would consider its own future in Formula 1 should Red Bull and Toro Rosso fail to make it on to the grid for 2016

Pirelli's future in Formula 1 in doubt if Red Bull walks away

Both of billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz's teams are reaching the critical stage as to whether they will be in F1 beyond this season.

In terminating contracts with power-unit supplier Renault early, both teams are relying on reaching satisfactory deals with Ferrari.

Lauda: Mateschitz has lost F1 interest

As far as tyre supplier Pirelli is concerned, their departure would weaken F1, and draw into question whether it would want to remain associated.

"It would make us think very heavily, yes," said motorsport director Hembery when asked by AUTOSPORT whether Pirelli would consider its future if the two teams exited.

"To lose two high quality, well-funded, professional teams - and I can't imagine there would be immediate replacements, even though we have Haas entering next year - then you are going to be worried.

"I know people say teams come and go, but we are talking about a very serious investment made over a significant number of years by Red Bull, and from our point of view, it would weaken the sport dramatically.

Toro Rosso situation critical - Horner

"For us, they are two very important teams.

"We admire what they've done for the sport in terms of driver development; they work at grassroots, bringing drivers through to Formula 1, from Sebastian Vettel to the four talents they have this year.

"They're also a team that goes outside of the Formula 1 circus to promote the sport, they invest significant sums of money in going to new locations, taking F1 to the streets of cities that don't stage F1 to try and create interest.

"So from our point of view, as a sponsor, any risk of losing both those teams would be a significant disaster for Formula 1."

Pirelli is currently in discussions with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone with regard to an extension of its supply contract from 2017-19, with Michelin its only rival and an answer due in October.

Asked whether Ecclestone was aware of Pirelli's thoughts, he replied: "I'm quite sure he knows what we think, as I'm sure every other sponsor feels the same.

"We've certainly given our thoughts to Red Bull and Christian [Horner], that we most definitely don't want to lose his team and Toro Rosso from Formula 1."

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