Christian Horner: Formula 1 needs to ‘make up its mind’

Formula 1 is set to evolve over the course of the next few years to continue a journey that’s recently been started, making the sport more competitive and environmentally friendly.

If only it were that easy though as the world’s most prestigious motorsport has failed to show exactly what these changes will look like and the sport has instead been left in a limbo, with even the team’s chiefs not knowing what’s ahead.

Things have certainly heated-up in the past few weeks as Mercedes became the latest big-name to join the very-growing Formula E series in 2019, with the all-electric race series already boasting Porsche, Renault, Jaguar and Citroen amongst their ranks.

Formula 1’s biggest change in recent years was the introduction of turbo hybrid engines in 2014, something which Red Bull principal Christian Horner has been very critical of, and he’s spoken about major decisions that need to be made over the coming months for the sport’s post-2020 model.

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Quoted by Australia’s news.com, Horner said:

“We have seen all these manufacturers now signing up to Formula E — that is where the technology belongs and where the electric cars belong. Formula 1 is really at a crossroads because the power unit that is picked for 2021 onwards is probably going to have between an eight and 10-year life.”

“What are people going to be driving on the roads in 2030? Will they be autonomous? Will they be electric? If you listen to our Government, they’re saying they certainly will be [electric]. So Formula 1 is at a crossroads where it has to decide what its future is. Is it outright racing? Is it combustion engines?

Is it man and machine wanting to know who the best driver, with the technology perhaps playing a slightly lesser role?”

“I certainly hope the regulations that are brought in post-2020 bring those aspects to the forefront and that it is about the driver. Yes, the team should absolutely make the difference, but it shouldn’t be a power unit-dominated formula, which is pretty much what we have today.”

Perhaps the biggest criticism of Formula 1, and a reason why many have turned away from the sport in recent years is the perceived lack of competitiveness over the course of the season as it’s difficult for the smaller teams to compete with the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, regardless of who their driver is.

The sport would certainly benefit from a more level playing field that makes the differences between the teams more about the drivers than about the power between the wheels, which would allow for a more dramatic season.