Christian Horner, the team principal for the embattled Red Bull, has said that Formula One needs external advice to be able to return to its once ‘exciting’, ‘alluring’ status. The sport has recently been decried from several corners as being ‘dull’, ‘boring’ and ‘unexciting’, with a near-complete domination by Mercedes for the second year in a row.
Mentioning former F1 team principal and engineer Ross Brawn, Horner said an experienced presence, especially like Brawn’s, would go a long way in helping improve the sport for the future.
Horner described the F1 Strategy Group as “inept”, saying an “independent observer” was needed to properly assess what was wrong with the sport and what needed to be changed.
The Strategy Group, it could be argued, does not equitably represent the best interests of all teams. Comprised of FIA President Jean Todt, supremo Bernie Ecclestone, FIA and FOM officials and representatives from only 6 Formula One teams – which have been selected for historical or monetary reasons as being ‘top’ – it does not reflect opinions across the board.
Members of the group convened earlier this year in May to deliver decisions they described as being aimed at making the sport ‘more exciting’. Among these were refuelling, which was banned in 2009. Williams’ Felipe Massa, who recently won a podium spot at the Austrian Grand Prix, was among several drivers who have had refuelling accidents.
Officials also said they were looking at making engines ‘faster, louder’ and shave ‘5-6 seconds’ off current lap times. Another regulation had to do with the use of tyre compounds, which teams are allowed a limited choice of during the race. The new rule will allow teams to have their pick of the four available compounds from the 2016 season.
There was also talk of increasing the permissible limit on engines drivers are allowed to change, increasing it from four to five. This was, however, vetoed at the meeting. Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, who have both had repeated engine failures in the 2015 season so far, both picked up penalties at the Austrian Grand Prix for using their 5th ICEs or Internal Combustion Engines.
Horner said in his statement: "I keep saying it and I will repeat it again now: It is for the commercial rights holder and the governing body to decide what F1 should be and then put it on the table to the teams and say 'this is what we want the product to be, these are the rules, this is the entry form'."
New rules and changes introduced earlier in May still need to pass through two further legislative stages before they may be ratified.
It also remains to be seen whether Brawn will himself return, as he formally retired from Formula One in 2014, following months of speculation that he would join Team McLaren in an advisory role. Prior to this, his team, Brawn GP, was bought out by Mercedes in 2009, and Brawn remained team principal following the deal, a role he stood down from in 2013 following disagreements with the team.
Although he continued to work with the FIA in an advisory role last year as part of a panel investigating the tragic crash of French driver Jules Bianchi at Suzuka in 2014, it remains to be seen whether Brawn will choose to once again be involved with Formula One full-time.