Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the 2021 Formula 1 regulations are being watered down due to disagreements between the FIA and Liberty Media.
One of Liberty’s main focuses since completing its takeover of the sport at the start of 2017 has been a blueprint for 2021 onward, with the current bilateral agreements ending at the same time as the current power unit regulations. While new engine rules were outlined last October by both the FIA and F1 itself — and are set to be signed off imminently — Horner believes the general direction of the sport has become less clear as compromises between stakeholders are sought.
“I think what’s by far Liberty’s biggest challenge is how to address the future, how to address 2021,” Horner said. “I think the problem, and the risks that I see, is if the FIA and the promoter aren’t fully aligned, we end up with compromises and vanilla-type regulations.
“I think there needs to be a real clarity going forward as to what the sport is going to be, what are the regulations going to be, that both parties ultimately have to buy into? Liberty have paid $8 billion for this sport. They’ve got to turn it into something that’s even more attractive. That’s fantastic racing, obviously there are cost issues, there’s revenue issues that need dealing with.
“The FIA, obviously as the governing body, they’ve got to be fully-aligned with that, and what concerns us is discussions of where things are going with engines, where things are going with chassis regulations.
“Everything seems to be getting watered down somewhat from what the initial concept is. So, I think the next 500 days are going to be very telling for life, post-2020.”
Horner was responding to a question about Liberty’s tenure so far, and praised a number of the fan-focused changes that have been made. However, Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost did not share Horner’s concerns, saying he is backing what the sport’s owners are proposing.
“I can only see positive aspects from them,” Tost said. “And I’m also convinced that they are going in the right direction for the future of the sport, because it’s important that Formula 1 will be changed, from the cost side and what they want to do is absolutely the right thing, to come down with the costs.
“Whether it’s a cost cap or whether it’s regulated by the sporting and technical regulations is another question. Then, to distribute the money in a fair way, not that some teams get everything and others nearly nothing.
“They will come up with a new technical regulation for the chassis as well of from the engine side – I think from the engine side should be finished soon, and they will also change the sporting regulation and, so far, all the topics which are being discussed are going in the right direction.
“They brought in a new attitude for the media, they’re concentrating on the social medias are being preferred more and I think all of these aspects together are important, that Formula 1 will go in the right direction. Because what we need is not a two-class society like we have now: three teams and the rest of the world.
“No, it needs ten teams that are close together. Or at least four or five teams are fighting for the championship, fighting for race wins, and this must be the goal, otherwise Formula 1 is not interesting in the future. I think Liberty Media understood this and they are going in the right direction. I can only support them.”