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Horner: You can’t blame fans for becoming disenchanted with F1

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that Mercedes dominating Formula 1 over the past three years has done the sport no favours and hopes that the regulation changes for 2017 will level the playing field.

Speaking to ESPN, Horner explained, “I think you can see the trend in viewing audiences, where if you know who is going to be on pole position and who is going to win race – and Mercedes has taken 51 wins in 59 over the last three years – it’s an unhealthy equation. You can’t blame the public for becoming disenchanted with it.

“But you saw towards the end of the [2016] season with races like Mexico and Brazil, with that kind of race it can really stimulate excitement. It only takes that kind of race, so that’s what we should really be aiming for at all 20 grands prix. Hopefully next year will shuffle the pack a little bit and we really need two or three teams heading into a race with a chance of winning.”

Horner is upbeat about the regulations that are based on a concept proposed by Red Bull and ratified by rival teams, which come into effect in 2017, but remains cautious about predicting how these will impact the pecking order.

“[The rule changes] are not as radical as the 2008-2009 regulations, but they are a reasonable change,”” said Horner. “It could shuffle the order to a degree, but only time will tell and it’s impossible to prophesise here and now. Maybe it will give Mercedes more of an advantage, maybe less. Until we get a sample of three races next year it will be impossible to tell.”

As for the team’s new car, Horner revealed, “The 2017 car looks great, it looks fantastic and like a Formula One car should. The only thing we need to address going forward is the acoustics, the sound.”

“We presented a concept [for the rules] and that concept was unanimously adopted, but then of course if needed a little bit of fine tuning. McLaren dampened down some of the aero influences, but only very slightly. But it’s broadly kept with the concept that was presented a couple of years ago,” added the Red Bull team boss.