Mark Webber believes the role Red Bull Racing team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has had in Formula One for the past 10 years has not received the recognition it deserves.
The futures of Red Bull and Toro Rosso, the other F1 team that Mateschitz owns, have been in doubt due to both struggling to find an engine manufacturer to supply them for 2015.
Toro Rosso are expected to use Ferrari power units next season and Red Bull are rumoured to be remaining with Renault, whom they had planned to leave after being disappointed with their performance, only to find Mercedes or Ferrari unwilling to supply them.
Webber, 36, who drove for Red Bull from 2007 to 2013, and won all nine of his races with them, said Mateschitz’s organisation had brought some stability to the grid in the past decade in an era when several teams had deserted the sport.
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In a telephone interview, Webber said of his former employer: “He has employed a huge number of people in his time in F1.
“There have been no defaults, no issues and it has been a sensational contribution to the top-end of motorsport, which a lot of people have been very thankful for and relied on that in a very consistent way and that has to be acknowledged and recognised because it has not always been like that for other teams, as we all well know.
“All those people who have ever worked for him, there has never been a bad word said about working for both those teams. Even when he took on Toro Rosso from Minardi back in the day, just how he did that was completely correct.”
Mateschitz had threatened to withdraw his teams from F1 at the end of the season if they did not have a competitive engine at their disposal for 2016.
While that no longer seems likely, Webber does not blame the Austrian for being disillusioned by the important role engines are now having in the running of F1.
“I think the lack of control is probably the biggest frustration,” he said. “Of being able to plug this gap (to the front of the grid) with a competitive engine and find something that is suitable for them to stay at the front.
“But it is proving extremely difficult, and that is pretty bizarre for the sport, pretty bizarre for Formula One to be in this situation.”
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