Dietrich Mateschitz never actually thought about pulling Red Bull from F1

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz says he never really thought about pulling his two teams out of Formula 1 last year, despite threatening to do so on a number of occasions.

The Austrian billionaire was unhappy with the team's power unit supplier Renault, which had struggled against its competitiors since the introduction of the V6 hybrid unit.

Red Bull tried to secure a Mercedes supply deal, but that fell through, whilst Ferrari and Honda both refused to supply the Milton Keynes based team, forcing Red Bull to continue with Renault, build its own engine, or quit the sport.

The first two options seemed unlikely given the negative comments against Renault and the huge expense required to develop an engine, leading Mateschitz, team boss Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko to threaten to walk away.

However that didn't happen after the team agreed a deal with Renault to rebadge its engines under the TAG Heuer moniker.

But quitting was never given any serious thought according to Mateschitz, not unless they were forced to.

"Actually, I never thought about it [qutting]," he told Spain's Marca. "Although, in theory, there was always some circumstances that could have forced us to take that route, for example, the obvious one is if we didn't have the power unit supply."

Mateschitz also agreed with Marko's comments that Max Verstappen could be the next great figure in F1, like Aryton Senna was during his era. 

"Considering his [Verstappen's] natural talent, his mental strength and the courage that has shown in the races, then yes," he added.

"But he also has to be able to maintain that level of speed, skill and strength over a period of several years. Nobody knows if that will happen, but we believe he has the potential."

Discussing another young Red Bull driver, Mateschitz reckons Carlos Sainz will benefit from another year at Toro Rosso, but admitted his future may lie elsewhere as Red Bull's seats are currently taken - it's rumoured Sainz could replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2018.

"Carlos is a great athlete, with a great personality, charisma and talent. His problem is that with Max and Daniel we have two great drivers at Red Bull and the performance of the Toro Rosso is not enough to challenge the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull.

"I firmly believe that it will be good for Carlos to continue in our rookie team another year. Especially since we hope to be able to significantly improve the car's performance next year."