In an interview with the media yesterday, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Mercedes’ current dominance of Formula 1 is driving fans away, and he says his own team’s success was never as damaging.
Mercedes has won 16 of the 19 grands prix in each of the last two years, and scored 23 one-twos over that same period, while Red Bull won four consecutive championships with Sebastian Vettel from 2010-13.
In his interview with the media yesterday, Horner stated that Mercedes’ success at the moment is damaging the reputation and future of the sport and that its predictability of the races aren’t helping and would like other drivers and teams to compete. Horner stated the following:-
‘Predictable, serial results and serial winning is difficult for any sport. We were accused of it, but we enjoyed the continued success and longevity of the sport. Two of our world championships went to the last race, and we never finished first and second in a championship. Inevitably, with predictability, people get turned off and it needs a rejig to bring it closer together.
‘I don’t think anyone wants to see Fernando Alonso just taking part, we want to see him competing. We want to see Daniel Ricciardo competing, and we want to see Sebastian Vettel competing against Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. You can’t expect the teams to achieve that, that’s for the regulator and the governing body to come up with a set of rules that achieve those objectives.’
Even though you can understand where Horner is coming from; I think this is another “cry baby” moment from him. Yes Red Bull dominated the sport and Horner is in cuckoo land if he thinks everyone was happy about what they have achieved; because we wasn’t. End of the day, if the best team on the grid has the right car, engine and overall package; they deserve to win.
I would agree with Horner that we would like other drivers such as Alonso competing competitively in the sport but if his team cannot give him the equipment to do so; what else can you do?
Fiurther on in his interview yesterday, Horner feels it is time for FIA president Jean Todt and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to impose themselves and bring an end to F1’s democratic process, where he believes progress is held back due to “self interest”. Horner added the following:-
‘There are things that need sorting for the future. It is vitally important, so we need strong leadership from the commercial rights holders and the governing body to plot a path for the future that addresses what the fans need and what the fans want to see.
‘Without them, there is no Formula 1 that ultimately has to be a show, has to be entertainment, and it has to appeal to a broad spectrum of fans and spectators. The regulations are incredibly stable for next year, so Mercedes will inevitably carry on the dominance, such is their margin. They will find gains throughout the winter and will undoubtedly be near the top of the curve. “I’m not sure what the bookies would offer for a big performance shift next year, but I don’t think the odds would be too good.’
I would agree with him that certain aspects of the sport need to be sorted out quickly in order to sustain its respectability and status within the future and also give everyone who loves following and competing in the sport what they need. But the fact of the matter is that no one gets what they want and there will be a compromise.
Horner does make a valid point that Formula One has to appeal to fans; but true fans of the sport like myself will love the sport regardless of what happens now and in the future even if many fans decide to follow other series such as Formula E. With Horner stating that Mercedes will keep their advantage next season; that might be so. But it is up to the rest of the field in my opinion to catch them and close the gap down to them.
So for me overall, no matter what team has dominated or will dominate Formula One in the near future; Horner needs in my view to realise that saying statements like this publically will not help and he needs to focus on beating Mercedes and ensuring they close the gap to them if they want to win again.