Red Bull chief labels Mercedes dominance as unhealthy

Red-Bull-chief-labels-Mercedes-dominance-as-unhealthyRed Bull Racing chief Christian Horner hopes the 2017 Formula One season will not be such a one horse race as the past few years, with more teams ultimately competing for the Championship.

Since 2014 and the dawn of the V6 Turbo era, Mercedes has dominated the pack, winning three constructor’s and driver’s titles alike – 2 for Lewis Hamilton; 1 for recently retired Nico Rosberg.

The lack of competition has taken its toll on the sport’s viewing figures, and Horner thinks it is ‘unhealthy’ for a sport considered the elite of motor racing.

Of the rivals to Mercedes, Red Bull has come the closest to breaking the German team dominance and Horner hopes the proposed rule changes for the new season go some way to readdressing the balance in terms of performance. Despite Hamilton and Rosberg claiming most of the season’s wins, both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen both topped the podium once, and will aim to be challenging for the title in the upcoming season.

The plan for next season is to revert back to aerodynamics instead of power, with wider tyres and a more pronounced diffuser to create better downforce. This will hopefully lead to more intense racing with more overtaking. Horner has admitted the proposed changes could work one of two ways, with Mercedes with either motoring even further ahead of the pack or becoming caught by their rivals.

“I think you can see the trend in viewing audiences, where if you know who is going to be on pole position and who is going to win race – and Mercedes has taken 51 wins in 59 over the last three years – it’s an unhealthy equation,” Horner told ESPN. “You can’t blame the public for becoming disenchanted with it.

“But you saw towards the end of the [2016] season with races like Mexico and Brazil, with that kind of race it can really stimulate excitement. It only takes that kind of race, so that’s what we should really be aiming for at all 20 grands prix. Hopefully next year will shuffle the pack a little bit and we really need two or three teams heading into a race with a chance of winning.

“[The rule changes] are not as radical as the 2008-2009 regulations, but they are a reasonable change. It could shuffle the order to a degree, but only time will tell and it’s impossible to prophesise here and now. Maybe it will give Mercedes more of an advantage, maybe less. Until we get a sample of three races next year it will be impossible to tell,” the Red Bull Racing chief added.

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