Red Bull principal Tony Purnell looks to 2005

After weathering the turbulent months that culminated in Jaguar Racing being bought by energy drink magnate Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull Racing team principal Tony Purnell knows better than most how difficult it can be for F1's smaller teams to survive on the crumbs left by Ferrari, Michael Schumacher and company. But does he think Schumacher's current pre-eminence is robbing the sport of its appeal? And what ingredients might be needed to spice up F1 in the future?

Red Bull principal Tony Purnell looks to 2005

Purnell aired his views on these and a number of other issues concerning the state of F1 at a recent press lunch. Autosport.com grand prix editor Jonathan Noble was there.



I think it will be much the same as last year myself. The fantastic thing about human beings is that you can keep slapping them down but they jump up for more. People know there will be a new era one day, presumably when Michael Schumacher retires, but people admire Michael as really, deep in everyone's heart, him winning all the time is okay because he is the best. And I believe he really is the best. Bernie says that it is good for the sport because we've got a bit of a legend in our midst and he has got a point.



You can see his point. I think it would be absolutely bloody marvellous if he drove for another team...say, Red Bull Racing! We could solve all the speculation in a heartbeat and sign Michael. He is experienced, he is enthusiastic and he is young!



I think that, with respect, that comment leads to the thought that if you put Kimi or whatever in a Ferrari, would they whiz away and win? Then yes I think they would. But I think Michael's special talent is the way he glues the team together and constantly works with the engineers in trying to make the car better. And his care to the staff is admirable - I have heard stories that he really does try and make everyone feel he values them.



No, I don't go along with that. I think there was a time you could say that about Jeff Gordon and NASCAR, and in baseball and hockey they have had megastars. There are eras, aren't there, and people like those eras when there is a fantastic guy.



There are two reasons for that, in my opinion. One is his charisma and personality, and something Rossi has done this year which people think is wonderful is that he has got on his bike, which everybody knows is not the quickest machine in town, and wallop, he is still a winner. Fantastic.



Rossi would be great for F1. I personally would love it if the driver stopped on his slowing down lap and pulled out a hammer and chisel...



Red Bull is the only marketing company we are involved with in F1. There are six manufacturers; Red Bull is a marketing company and I expect them to approach the presentation of the team with a little bit of an edge. That is what I want. Like refusing to announce the driver line-up until the last moment...when we are ready we will announce it.

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