MONZA // Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has blamed Formula One's engine rules for effectively ending his team's title hopes. Red Bull scored just one point in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix while championship-leading rivals Brawn finished first and second. Brawn are now 50.5 points clear of Red Bull in the constructors' standings with four races remaining while Britain's Jenson Button is 26 clear of Red Bull's leading driver Sebastian Vettel.
Asked whether Monza marked the end of his team's 2009 title hopes, the Austrian energy drink billionaire told the autosport.com website: "In reality, that happened before already. "The reasons for this are that our engines are inferior to some of the competition, and the rules that limit the drivers to eight engines per season without testing or development." Under the rules, drivers collect a 10-place penalty on the starting grid for each engine used over their season's allocation.
Vettel has suffered several failures and did few laps in practice at Monza to save his engine for the race. Despite that, he is still likely to need a ninth engine before the championship is over. "You can never exclude to be successful and win again but I doubt whether we can achieve four top results from both our drivers now," said Mateschitz. "We cannot even do a proper race preparation in free practice because we have to take care of our engines. Basically, these are very strange conditions under which we race."
Red Bull have said they are considering their engine options for 2010, with a switch to Mercedes providing partner McLaren and the governing FIA allow the manufacturer to supply a fourth team seen as the favoured option. * Reuters