Brawn fears Mercedes will dominate in 2018

Published on 06 Dec 2017 09:09

Formula 1's managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn thinks that there is a strong chance Mercedes will jump ahead of the rest of the field next season. The Silver Arrows are by far the most successful team of the V6 Hybrid era, having wrapped up four consecutive constructor's titles.

After the sport introduced new regulations regarding the aerodynamic packages of the cars this year, Mercedes found itself being challenged for the first time since 2014. Ferrari returned to the front and hassled Mercedes, but its title hopes faded after a disastrous series of races in Asia.

With the 2017 season wrapped up, Brawn fears that Mercedes could extend its advantage at the front of the field for another year in 2018:  "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, Paddy Lowe left and James Allison came - and that was in the middle of a car [regulation] change, which is not easy.

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

Following the season finale at Abu Dhabi, many fans complained about the lack of overtaking during the race. Brawn insists that people mustn't forget the exciting races throughout the year, but states that work will be done to improve the spectacle.

"We have to keep a balanced view. We had some great races this season, so Abu Dhabi wasn't the greatest, but we had some great races this year," he said. "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. 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."


Fergal Walsh

Replies (13)
SE calle.itw 06 Dec 2017 09:370
Posts: 5669
And yet you choose to limit the competition by reducing allocations... A-ngel of stu-pid this isnt working!

Balance of Performance might not be a bad idea in F1 after all. Doesnt need to be much, just limit fuel flow, or allow competition extra upgrades.
Posts: 133
Not sure how limiting fuel flow will bring back competition, isn't mercedes already the most fuel efficient? In that case their dominance will increase further.

As the allow competition extra upgrades, I like the principle but how would that practically work to level and not skew the paying field? I don't see that yet but I still like it though.
SE calle.itw 06 Dec 2017 17:460
Posts: 5669
Fuel flow limiting and weight penalties work in very similar ways. Similar enough so that many series that uses "weight penalties" in fact use fuel flow limitations proportionate to the weight displayed. The Mercedes can be as fuel efficient as they want (and we'll see whether that is true in 2018, when they also have to climb down from the oil burning bullshit tree).

There are a few paths I've considered. One correlates with engine allocations. Introducing a new spec costs parts, thats one of the more important takes I got from 2017. Limit allocations, and you limit amount of upgrades teams are willing to take. So one idea is that teams with lower scores, or teams with an underperforming unit supplier, get a chance at a penalty free extra allocation post mid season when they decide to grab a new upgrade. The problem with this concept is that it relies on suppliers actually upgrading their units, meaning teams that use Renault units, if they stop development halfway through the season for the third year in a row, wont be helped much by it. A pro is that if units next year prove very unreliable, they would still have one extra allocation to help reduce the damage.

Another could be that teams with higher amount of points get to bring fewer chassis upgrades after the season midpoint, and teams with fewer points could get an opportunity to catch up. I think this one is more realistic, and I think its also the more fair method.
US Rindtchamp 06 Dec 2017 10:350
Posts: 272
Ugh.. not sure I can talk another boring season of Merc domination, what makes it even worse is there's no competition between the Merc drivers. halo + merc domination = bye bye F1.
DK RenaultFM1 06 Dec 2017 11:280
Posts: 100
What have you expected else...Wake up maybe? It is Mercedes!!
Posts: 133
Best to introduce weight handicaps now. It is quickly done and easily adjusted.

Hand out additional constructor points for lugging weight around the track, it will enable the exciting driver competition, and it won't really impact constructor championship.

Shortest step towards an interesting competition.

And for the nay sayers: bring performance closer, but don't nullify the differences totally with weight handicaps.

I don't think any other approach can work, or should work.
US Twiinzspeed 06 Dec 2017 21:580
Posts: 18
Weight addition has worked well in other series. I would say after qualifying they add weight based on times. It is already known what each kg of fuel costs an F1 car in time, so just add say 60-70% of the weight needed to equalize the cars. That would also keep Mercedes from turning the engine up too much in quali. We know they do it because the Ferrari's and RBR seem to close the gap in the races.
SE calle.itw 06 Dec 2017 17:490
Posts: 5669
I wonder if they will be as dominant on the engine side of things, now that they finally have to climb down from the oil burning bullshit tree. Surely their unit will still be the better, but will they be as dominant? The oil helped both performance and reliability.
Posts: 251
Let me be controversial - get rid of Monaco - Its not even a race - its a pole qualifying event, let it be seen for what it is - its one of the races I don't even bother watching because it is literally impossible to overtaken, anywhere. Ibet my last dime that won't happen though - sure as hell don't know why?
SE calle.itw 06 Dec 2017 20:580
Posts: 5669
I see your point, but I disagree. F1 is at least as linked to Monaco as it is to Ferrari, and F1 could lose alot of viewers if they get rid of it. Heck, some people I know who doesnt ever watch F1 otherwise switch it on for Monaco. Its not always very interesting races to watch, true, but Monaco is all about the rest. That and its a true challenge for drivers. I wouldnt say its my favourite race, just like Hockenheim isnt my favourite for the racing, but they are both tracks I still like due to different reasons: Monaco for the exclusiveness, Hockenheim for the sentimental value.
Posts: 330
Just guessing Merc might have issue with oil burning as it could just possibly be linked to their mirror honed coated bores. There are competing bore coat technologies each having different intrinsic porosity levels, some requiring more lubrication than others. Quite drastic to have to change coating morphology. But there again, throw a few milllion £, € at a problem they’ll find a way to “comply”. Just a tech’y guess.
Posts: 625
This is all fiddling while Rome is burning. You should not reward success with penalties. If F1 ever had a role it was to stimulate competition between engineers & drivers. No-one will aspire to anything if there’s a lump of lead hanging on the chassis or a few litres of gas less in the tank. Make engines simpler and encourage diversity with independent PU suppliers, increase the fuel flow and let’s go racing!
SE calle.itw 07 Dec 2017 11:130
Posts: 5669
Simple designs doesnt guarantee fair or even competition, as we can clearly see from other series and from past experience in F1. I have no doubt that the token system ultimately only benefitted Mercedes, but even then, they will continue to remain dominant unless changes are made. And while I dont like the thought of penalizing the winner, Mercedes are so dominant that BoP would probably not hit them very hard. Its a good way to pluck down ultra dominant teams down to the other teams' level.

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