Mercedes' dominance has rivals calling for reform
Melbourne, March 16 (IANS)
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said that rival teams who are "moaning" about his team's commanding success should put their heads down and work harder following the Silver Arrows' domination at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix here on Sunday. After Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished more than 30 seconds clear of the field, Ferrari and Red Bull immediately called for change of rules to peg back the Silver Arrows, reports Xinhua.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner questioned how long the sport's governing body FIA could allow Mercedes to go unchallenged after the German constructor won 16 of 19 races last season.
"Is it healthy to have this? The FIA have an equalisation mechanism within the rules. They perhaps need to look at it," Horner said on Sunday night.
But Wolff, whose team began preparing for last year's drastic regulation overhaul back in 2011, was blunt in his advice for those crying out for equalisation.
"There is this wall in Jerusalem that you can stand in front of and complain. Maybe the guys should go there," he said on Monday.
"If you come into Formula 1, 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. 'Just get your f****** head down, work hard and try to sort it out'."
Mercedes' superiority reigned for the entire weekend with Saturday's practice the only session where Mercedes failed a one-two lockout. In that session, second-ranked Sebastian Vettel, driving a Ferrari, clocked a lap 0.2 second quicker than Rosberg.
The calls for urgent reform increased after the race with the Silver Arrows having seemingly moved further ahead of the field in the four months since winning the drivers' and constructors' titles in 2014.
Even Rosberg admitted that he hoped the competition would soon catch up for fans' sake and told third-placed Sebastian Vettel, he hoped "you can give us a challenge".
"I do think about the show. Half of me, or a part of me, thinks about the show because I want to give people a great time at home watching on TV or at the track," Rosberg said.
The FIA is not expected to budge to help Red Bull, which enjoyed similar, if less commanding, success from 2010-2013.
Horner insisted it was not simply sour grapes, or part of his frustration at the woeful reliability delivered by engine manufacturer Renault, and claimed that during his team's domination, the FIA continually barred innovative designs.
"On today's evidence we are set for a two-horse race at every Grand Prix. 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. That was not just us, it was done to McLaren and Williams in other years," Horner said.
Horner even suggested complex sensors to effectively limit the amount of power a team can use, to mimic the fuel rate sensors brought in last year. As it is, the Red Bull principal is concerned that Mercedes' dominance will have F1 fans turning off their TV en masse as the season progresses.
"I fear the interest will wane. I didn't see much of Mercedes on TV and I can only imagine that it isn't interesting watching a procession so the producer was looking for other battles going on in the race, except there weren't that many cars to look at. The highlight for me was Arnie (Schwarzenegger) on the podium," Horner said.
"Take nothing from Mercedes, they have done a super job. They have a good car, a fantastic engine and two very good drivers. The problem is that the gap is so big that you end up with three-tier racing and that is not healthy for Formula 1. Unless there is an intervention, we are set for a season with quite a broad running order."