Horner: Mercedes should ignore “self-interest” and back unfreeze

Christian Horner is adamant that Mercedes should back plans for an engine unfreeze for the good of the sport.

Mercedes was not able to block the proposal at the F1 Strategy Group meeting, but it can do so at the upcoming F1 Commission meeting, where unanimity is required for 2015 rule changes.

The rules already allow for quite substantial engine updates over the winter, but Merc’s rivals want to be allowed to make at least one development step during next season.

“I think for F1 it’s important,” said Horner. “We saw today Nico’s performance – the true performance is that they can drive through the field, and I think it’s too out of kilter, five Mercedes-powered cars in the top five. The immaturity of this technology is still quite raw, and I think Mercedes shouldn’t be afraid of competition. They are doing a super job but I think it’s healthy for F1 that Ferrari, Honda, Renault should have that ability to close that gap, otherwise we’re going to end up in a very stagnant position.

“I think it’s a bigger issue than just about the teams. It’s about what’s right for the sport, what’s right for the fans. It’s easy to take a self-interest position, but when you look at what is the right thing for F1, I think it’s to have competition. The rules are the rules, which they are at the moment, but I think we need to be big enough to say let’s open a little bit, be responsible on costs so there is no impact for the customer teams, but have that position.”

Horner said that the winter window was not enough: “You’ve got until February to do that, and then you’re locked down again. So it’s a very, very small window in order to achieve that. There was an agreement in Singapore, everybody voted unanimously to have one further step in the season, but that seems to have been reneged on.”

He acknowledged that given extra development options Mercedes could still do a better job.

“Quite possibly, but at least you’ve got the ability to try and improve, because at the moment you’re frozen with what you’ve got. You’re running with your hands tied behind your back. If it’s competition like it is on the chassis side, if you start off on the back foot you can develop your way out of that. I think that on the engine side it’s important that while the technology is still quite immature that responsibly – not just open carte blanche development – you should be able to have a couple of increments during the season.”


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14 responses to “Horner: Mercedes should ignore “self-interest” and back unfreeze

  1. jiffyhelper

    Christian never seemed all that bothered about the good of the sport when it was a Red Bull that could drive through the field.

    • kenneth

      read the article, RB was in front because of the chassis not the renault engine which was by comparison underpowered. this current state of affairs is solely to do with the PU.

    • I recall Horner refusing cost capping, so why is he all of a sudden interested in the health of the sport, ‘what is right for the sport’. It’s actually laughable that he thinks no one can see through it. It’s like sitting an exam, not doing well, and asking if you can rest the same exam. Mercedes should not be punished for doing the best and this is what would be happening. Out it this way, what do you think Horner would be saying if Renault were in this position?

      Exactly. He has one view on what is right for the sport, and that is RBR doing well.

    • Brian

      No s**t. To be lectured by Horner on the topics of “self interest” and “what’s good for the sport” is pretty rich. On the other hand, it’s a great followup for the speech he gave at the team principle’s meeting on sports and politics. Wow.


    • mcgrdy13

      The RB 6-9 was never this dominant nor did red bull rely on locked regulations keeping them at the front of the field. Do you really think people will keep watching when a driver can just sit at the front of the field driving at 60%. It’s why the sport struggled in the early 2000s

  2. MrPeePee

    Pot, Kettle???

  3. Mick

    I presume that if Merc exercise their right to block a 2015 rule change, that it could still be changed for 2016 without unanimous support if decided early enough?

  4. Albert

    Hey Christian, you didn’t seem to have a problem with the rules when your cars were the ones able to “drive though the field”. That’s just part of the attraction of the technical side of F1. When you nail the car/engine package you dominate until the other teams catch up.

  5. ACx

    Mercedes let their drivers race each other. Clearly this is for the good of the sport, not Mercedes. I think Mercedes have done their bit for the good of the sport already. Imagine if they had gone down the RBR / Ferrari route and favored one driver. This season would have made the Russian GP feel as exciting as a moon landing. Horner has nothing what so ever to say about the good of the sport. Frankly, Mercedes seem to have been very good about dominating while still giving fans something to watch, asking or expecting more would be taking the mick.

  6. Josh Hill

    Everybody commenting here seems to forget the rules were changed atkiki least twice to try and reduce Red Bulls dominance. It’s exactly the same situation here and either the commenters are letting their Mercedes fanboism or Red Bull hatred get the better of them and the sport.

    • Bear in mind that the FRIC suspension system was banned this year on the assumption that Mercedes had the most advanced system hence the most to lose. Recent radio bans were also introduced, with broad-based assessments that Mercs drivers would again stand to lose out most severely in regard to this rule change.

      P.S. The origins of this ‘fanboy’ narrative is very intriguing

  7. M Gray

    Isn’t the difference between the years of RBR winning & this years Mercedes is that RBR had aero design & innovation throughout the year which all teams are entitled to do, where as this and next year the engine freeze limits limit other teams & their ability to improve.

  8. Mistressofspeed

    I would value Horner’s comment about Rosberg coming through the field if RBR had used their knowledge to show their pace through the corners at Sochi – somehow, I think RBR deliberately under performed allowing the Mercedes powered drivers to demonstrate a perceived engine performance. The same engine/chassis performance that throughout the year has been out paced by Ricciardo’s Renault powered Red Bull; and, by Alonso in the Ferrari engined Ferrari. The fact that RBR and Ferrari seemed to do this after Horner revealed the Singapore strategy group ‘agreement’ Wolff later rescinded comes as no surprise to me.

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