A BIG YAWN: Daniel Ricciardo has been quoted as saying after the Australian F1 opener that it had been a "boring race". Image: AP.
LONDON, England - Formula 1 is speeding towards its next battleground in Malaysia where the debate about the very future of the sport will also resume.
The Red Bull team, immediately after the first race of the season in Australia, furiously slammed the current regulations and threatened to pull out unless the rules were not changed soon.
The team’s Helmut Marko told Speed Week: "According to our research television viewing declined by 26% in 2014. If that keeps happening and the regulations stay the same, then we must ask: what is the sporting and commercial value of F1?"
He insisted that he was not just railing against Red Bull's performance deficit in 2015 but against the idea that the cars were "easy to drive. "This is an argument not only we are making," Marko insisted. "Any rookie can now be immediately competitive because the cars are easy to master on the limit. In terms of power, GP2 cars are almost the same."
Red Bull has proposed a standard turbo and kers package capable of 750kW but the sport will not take a sharp turn with the rules unless Red Bull finds allies willing to vote with it.
"Do we need new F1 cars?" Williams' Pat Symonds was quoted as asking by Auto Motor and Sport. "First we need a set of rules that is sustainable and sufficient for teams to survive. I'm not so sure that cars with a new look or 750kW will help F1 much."
Not surprisingly, the currently dominant Mercedes team agreed with its customer. Team boss Toto Wolff said: "My personal view is that the sport itself does not need anything drastic to change. Nevertheless, we must remain open and participate in the discussion and see what we can do to improve it."
Marko, however, was not only critical of what he described as Mercedes' understandable defiance. He also blamed F1’s ruler, the International Automobile Federation. "Only when nobody watches F1 any more will Mercedes question the value of its victories. We need a leadership in F1 that can force decisions," he insisted. "Just as it was under Max Mosley."
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