Formula 1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn says the sport’s future depends on reducing the gap between the top three and the rest of the field after all but one podium finish was secured by Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari in 2018.
Force India was the only other team to score a podium this season courtesy of Sergio Perez finishing third in Baku after both Red Bulls and Valtteri Bottas retired. It’s the same ratio as a year ago, when Lance Stroll was also third in the same race, and Brawn says it is a statistic that needs to be changed urgently.
“The teams outside the top three … were practically racing in their own championship, with far too big a performance gap between them and Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull,” Brawn said.
“As was the case in 2017, only once and significantly, on a very unusual street circuit like Baku, did a driver from one of those seven teams make it to the podium. Last year it was Lance Stroll in the Williams, this time it was Sergio Perez for Force India.
“Two podiums from a total of 123 is unacceptable, especially when it comes with an ever increasing technical and financial divide. It’s a problem we are tackling together with the FIA and the teams, because the future of Formula 1 depends on it.”
Brawn points out the midfield fight this season was a close one, reserving praise for Force India for its performance amid administration and a change of ownership, but wants to see more teams able to challenge for the top positions.
“There are various solutions on the table, and we must all accept that we can’t go on like this for too much longer,” he said.
“I don’t mean to cause offense by referring to the ‘other’ championship, it’s just a way of describing the situation, and their battle was certainly thrilling. However, it’s hard for the fans to truly get excited about a battle for eighth place.
“Having said that, congratulations to Renault for finishing fourth, confirming the progress it is making and to Haas, as finishing fifth in only your third year in the sport is a great achievement.
“Sauber fought back after struggling for the previous two years, partly thanks to the talents of [Charles] Leclerc. But a special word goes out to the men and women of Force India who worked hard all season without letting themselves get distracted by the serious problems that affected the company and threatened its very existence. I think that managing to keep Force India on the grid and assuring it a stable future is one of the most important things that happened in 2018.”