Brawn fears Mercedes steamroller to continue

05/12/2017
NEWS STORY

Be it new chassis and tyre regulations, the sudden retirement of its world champion driver or the defection of its technical director, Mercedes has weathered the storm.

Despite an increased challenge from Ferrari this season, Mercedes domination of the sport under the new hybrid formula continued, the German team now having won 63 of the 79 (79.74%) of the races held since the new engine formula was introduced in 2014.

And with minimal regulation changes for next season, the sport's technical boss, Ross Brawn, fears the domination will continue.

"They've got a great group of people, but my slight worry is that they will get even stronger now," he told ESPN. "They've had a change of senior management and that was in the middle of a regulation change, which is not easy.

By their own admission, the car they had this year was a bit of a diva," he continued, "and I strongly suspect that's not going to be the case next year. So I just see - unfortunately in many ways - a continuation of the steamroller. Let's hope I'm wrong!"

The Briton's "slight worry" will be echoed by race fans around the world, not because they particularly dislike the German outfit or its drivers but because, as was the case during the era of Ferrari dominance in which Brawn was an integral part - they don't want to see one team dominating.

"We have to keep a balanced view," insisted the Briton. "We had some great races this season, Abu Dhabi wasn't the greatest, but we had some great races this year. I think it's a combination of the circuits, the cars we have, the drivers and how competitive everyone is, so I'm optimistic we can have a very strong year next year.

"But in terms of changing the cars, in terms of tuning the circuits and in terms of perhaps developing the tyres to help the racing, that is going to take some time," he admitted. "But I think you will see over the next few years that every decision will be made to move in that direction, whereas before that was not always the case. I think I can make a commitment that every sporting and technical decision we take will be in the direction of improving the racing and improving the show."

Fact is, with the engine regulations not due for overhaul until 2021, there is the very likely prospect of Mercedes not only dominating again 2018 but in 2019 and 2020 also.

Ferrari is likely to continue to shoot itself in the foot, as it always has done, while Red Bull doesn't even know what engine it will have beyond 2018 and should the experiment with Toro Rosso and Honda prove pointless the Austrian team - despite Christian Horner's recent comments in terms of Ferrari's threats - is likely to voice its own quit warning.

All this on a day that it is confirmed that overtaking this season is down by almost 50% on last year.

While Brawn admits that changing things will take time, fact is time is exactly what the sport and its new owners don’t have. At the end of another three years of domination the damage could be irreparable.

Still, at least we have a new logo to energise the sport.

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Published: 05/12/2017
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