Red Bull may exit F1 if FIA fails to slow Mercedes




Red Bull’s team principle, Christian Horner has asked FIA to step in and make the Mercedes cars slower. Mercedes finished the Australian GP on a high being the fastest cars in qualifying and going on to win the top two spots rather comfortably. After the race Horner said, “On today’s evidence we are set for a two horse race at every grand prix this season”.

Red Bull’s team principle, Christian Horner

Red Bull’s team principle, Christian Horner

Horner explains his situation, “Take nothing away from Mercedes, they have done a superb 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 in Formula One”.

Red Bull has threatened to pull the plug out of Formula One unless significant changes are made to the FIA regulations making all the cars equal. Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko speaking to Autosport said, “We will evaluate the situation again in summer as every year and look into the costs and revenues. If we are totally dissatisfied we could contemplate an F1 exit. Yes, the danger is there”. He added that the technical rules are not easily understandable, too complicated and too expensive. The rules are governed by engineer’s formula but the team wants cost reduction too which is not happening.

The situation is an irony to what Red Bull had done while they dominated the Formula One scene making Sebastian Vettel World Champion on four consecutive occasions from 2010-2013. During that phase Red Bull had unquestionably the quickest cars in the pack. The team using technical wizardry had managed to get around the rules for their advantage before FIA stepped in. Horner said, “When we were winning, and we were never winning with the advantage Mercedes has, the 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”.

In the post race Q&A session Lewis commented on the same saying, “I hope we can have a good fight. That would be awesome”. Sebastian cut in immediately asking, “Be honest. Do you really hope so? Seriously?”. Taking another dig at Lewis, Vettel asked Lewis after being 30 seconds faster in the race, if Lewis had plans to slow down for the upcoming races just for the sake of the fans. This light moment shared by the drivers amused the press representatives in the room.

Currently, Mercedes, Williams and Ferrari have probably near about top speeds in the straights but the difference lies in the corners where Mercedes have managed to rein supreme just as Red Bull at one point of time had managed. Red Bull’s fears have been confirmed in the fact that out of the 11 places that managed to finish the race, six of them finished a lap down. Formula One has become predictable which has resulted in heavy criticism on FIA and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. It remains to be seen what steps are taken in this regard by the F1 management and the FIA stewards.

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Anjan K Merkap

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