Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz says his team's World Championship hopes were not killed off at the Italian Grand Prix – but instead were lost well before then.
The Austrian flew in to Monza to see his team's title ambitions effectively ended by a first lap accident for Mark Webber and a solitary point for Sebastian Vettel – compared to title rival Brawn GP's 1-2 finish.
And although Red Bull Racing still has a mathematical chance of taking the title, Mateschitz concedes that certain factors have wrecked its ambitions – as he particularly focused on the performance of his team's Renault engine.
When asked if Monza marked the end of Red Bull's title dreams, Mateschitz said: "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.
"The times are gone when one team could dominate a whole season. A car of nowadays cannot be the fastest at any given track. It's like drivers who have their ups and downs".
Mateschitz has played down the prospects of Red Bull mounting much of a challenge in the final four races against Brawn GP, because he fears Sebastian Vettel will need to take an engine penalty at some point. However, he has not ruled out the team being able to take some consolation with race wins in the final four events of the season.
"The first thing I expect is a 10 places grid penalty, because we will need a ninth engine," he said. "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. 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."
Mateschitz has said he has nothing but praise for the job his Red Bull Racing team did this year, as he again suggested that it was the engine factor that hurt his outfit's chances.
"They all do a great job and there is nothing to criticize because of the raised performance. However, this season clearly shows that the best car and the best drivers might not be enough."
Red Bull Racing is currently weighing up its engine options for next year – with a planned move to Mercedes-Benz having been stalled because the German car manufacturer has not got the green light to the supply deal from either partner McLaren or the FIA.
If such approval is not given, Red Bull Racing could well stick with Renault again – depending on the outcome of the FIA's hearing into allegations the French car maker deliberately caused a crash in last year's Singapore Grand Prix.