Red Bull is set to leave the Sprint Cup series at the end of the season but the team that the Austrian energy drink owns is looking for investors to keep its squad afloat.
A story from the Associated Press on Monday stated that an official from Red Bull informed industry leaders of the decision at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. Later a statement from the team all but confirmed the report.
No details have emerged regarding the reasons behind the decision, but the statement says Red Bull will continue to invest in the sport until the end of the season. The AP report noted that Red Bull markets its energy drink primarily to the 18 to 34 age group – a demographic with which NASCAR has lost ground in TV ratings in recent years.
"Red Bull Racing Team is currently seeking outside investors as we evaluate our next steps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series," the team's statement read. "We are not at liberty to comment on details while negotiations are under way.
"Red Bull fully supports NASCAR and will continue its investment in America's premier form of motorsports for the remainder of the 2011 season. The team's focus will not waver as we fight for victories and a position in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup."
Since making its debut in the 2007, Sprint Cup season the team has only won once, taking victory at Michigan in August, 2009, with Brian Vickers. The 27-year-old has been a fixture at the outfit despite missing most of last season when he was diagnosed with blood clots.
In nearly five years at NASCAR's top level, Red Bull Racing Team has only once had a driver in contention for the championship during the Chase for the Championship – Vickers making it into the top-12 in points ahead of the playoff series. But he then endured a tough final 10 races where he was unable to back up his previous form.
Vickers's current teammate Kasey Kahne, who drives the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota but will join Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, posted his reaction to the news on his Twitter account.
"Heard the news about Red Bull today. All I can say is the 4 Red Bull team is still going to do all we can to win this year. We know we can!" wrote Kahne.
Kahne and Vickers currently rank 19th and 24th in the Sprint Cup standings, Kahne's third place at Richmond being the team's best result of the season thus far.
After five seasons in Formula 1, Red Bull Racing had already won multiple grands prix and finished runner-up in the constructors' championship to Brawn GP before going to clinch its first title in its sixth season in the sport.