MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A Red Bull advisor has warned that the team could pull out of Formula One unless changes are made to the regulations.
Red Bull are among a number of teams frustrated by their inability to keep up with Mercedes, who dominated Formula One last year and cruised to an easy victory in Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Rival drivers described the race as "boring" and Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said if it went unchecked, it could drive other teams away and reduce interest in the sport.
He even suggested that Red Bull, who won four championships in a row before being left in the Mercedes slipstream, might pull out if the team's billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz lost interest.
Speaking to German-language media, Marko was quoted as saying: "We will evaluate the situation again as every year and look into costs and revenues. If we are totally dissatisfied, we could contemplate an F1 exit.
"Yes, the danger is there that Mr Mateschitz loses his passion for F1."
Marko's comments came after Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told reporters that Formula One officials should take action to equalise the engine performances of every team to create a more level-playing field.
Red Bull made a disastrous start to the new season with Daniel Ricciardo getting lapped before finishing sixth in his home race.
His new Russian team-mate Daniil Kvyat did not even make it to the grid, withdrawing before the start with gearbox failure.
"When we were winning, and we were never winning with an advantage that Mercedes has, double diffusers were banned, exhausts were moved, flexible bodywork was banned, engine mapping was changed mid-season - anything was done to pull us back," Horner told reporters.
"That was not just us, it was done to McLaren and Williams in other years.
"The FIA, within the rules, have an equalisation mechanism; I think it's something that perhaps they need to look at."
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had little sympathy for Red Bull, accusing their rivals of moaning because they were losing.
"If you try to beat each other and perform at the highest level and then you need equalisation after the first race - you cry out after the first race - that's not how we've done things in the past," he said.