Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has called for Formula One to turn to Ross Brawn in a bid to turn around its flailing fortunes.
Although still regarded as the pinnacle of motorsport, F1 has been criticised for dull races, a lack of overtaking and an over-complicated rule book – which has seen television viewers switch off and crowds keep away.
Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, hosted at the circuit belonging to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, saw a 40 per cent drop on attendance from last season and it has been a similar story in most race weekends this year.
Mateschitz claimed the inferior engine unit supplied by Renault has seen him lose his enjoyment and motivation to remain in F1.
Horner, a vocal critic of the strategy group which is in place to change the rules and regulations, has also hit out at Renault and the current state of the sport.
— F1Nova.com (@F1Nova) June 22, 2015
Instead he wants to see someone like Brawn, who helped deliver world championships at Bennetton and Ferrari before leading his own eponymous team to the drivers’ and constructor crowns in 2009.
“I think the Strategy Group is fairly inept,” said Horner. “I keep saying it and I will repeat it again now: It is 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.
“Maybe you need an independent observer, someone not involved… someone like Ross Brawn that understands the challenges and knows the business to write a specification for what a car or technical regulations should be.”
Formula One’s ruler Bernie Ecclestone has said he believes Red Bull are threatening to leave and warring with Renault because they are no longer winning.
Lewis Hamilton insists he will not suffer an Austrian hangover as he heads to Silverstone stronger than ever.
The reigning world champion lost out to Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday.
Rosberg had dominated for much of the weekend and capitalised on a poor start from pole-sitter Hamilton to take the win and close to within 10 points of the championship leader.
In a race, which saw a massive accident for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, Hamilton was also hit with a five-second time penalty for crossing the white line on his exit from the pits. That error compounded a mediocre weekend by his own high standards but the 30-year-old will not be letting that get to him as he heads to the British Grand Prix looking to continue his tilt at a third world title.
“I don’t feel you carry anything through,” Hamilton said when asked about potential momentum for Rosberg.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 21, 2015
“It starts again, you have a whole week of nothing racing-wise and then you arrive into a whole new weekend, I’ve never felt I’ve been carrying momentum from one weekend to the other, I feel like I’m coming there with the same approach each time.
“It is not the end of the world at all. At the end of the day it is really positive for the team, a one-two. I’m grateful I still got the points.
“You never want to go backwards from starting pole, finishing second from second is different.
“I approach Silverstone the same way I approached this weekend. I hope it is a smoother weekend, it usually is a smoother weekend than it is here.”
Hamilton has stormed to seven pole positions from the opening eight races and has backed that up by taking four wins. The former McLaren man believes he is better than last year and has had Rosberg’s number for much of the season – only admitting he has been out-driven twice by the German.
“When you think about the places where points have been lost, it has been a pretty good year so far,”he added. “Nico has done Barcelona and here, two out of eight isn’t too bad really. I’m happy with that.
“All I can think is that this year I’m stronger. It looks like we are kind of in a similar position but I feel stronger, getting better results, more consistent.
“Hopefully it sits well for the rest of the season if I perform as well, if not better, than I did last year for the rest of the season.
“Monaco, I performed better and generally I have only had a couple where I have not been the strongest, it has been the other way round.
“When you say it has been balance and he (Rosberg) has been stronger, when you look at it seven poles out of eight is pretty decent and perhaps without Monaco, it wouldn’t be as close as it is now – he has had just two strong weekends.”
Felipe Massa hails his Austrian Grand Prix podium as a “great result” for Williams, especially after it came against the “quicker” Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
Lining up alongside the four-time world champion on the second row of the grid, the Brazilian ran in fourth during his first stint before a slow Ferrari pit stop allowed him to leapfrog Vettel to third.
The German managed to fight back and put intense pressure on the Williams in the closing stages of the race, but Massa eventually succeeded in keeping the charging SF15-T at bay until the chequered flag.
— J Becker (@RottenDogRacing) June 21, 2015
“It was a great result today,” he said. “We managed to get the opportunity, which came after the mistake from another team or Sebastian – I don’t know what happened so I cannot say.
“And then we managed to keep the pace, which was good but maybe a little bit slower compared to him. I expected (Vettel) to be close to me at the end and he was. But I managed to keep him behind, that was the most important thing.”
While Massa admits Ferrari still has a slight edge over Williams, the 11-time grand prix winner, who now has over 1,000 career points, is adamant his team is leaving no stone unturned in order to be challenging the Maranello-based outfit on merit soon.
— Felipe Massa (@MassaFelipe19) June 14, 2015
“It’s very good for the team, these are important points against Ferrari. Also looking at what happened to Kimi today. So we’re not giving up, we’ll fight until the end.
“We understand that maybe they have a little bit of a quicker car compared to us but we’re working very hard to improve and to be there, trying to get back the points they have in front. This is not easy but it’s what we’re trying to do.”