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Horner warns F1 owners American approach to the sport does not work

Horner warns F1 owners American approach to the sport does not work
© Reuters
Horner warns F1 owners American approach to the sport does not work

Christian Horner has told Formula One's owners that their American approach does not work, and believes they have underestimated the task of running the sport.

Liberty Media, the US conglomerate which took charge of F1 following its £6.4billion takeover in January 2017, is making slow progress on the terms of a new Concorde Agreement, a set of rules which binds the major players to the sport and expires at the end of next season.

The owners have also recently come under public fire from disgruntled race promoters.

Chase Carey, the American who replaced Bernie Ecclestone as the head of F1, has taken a democratic approach with the teams and race promoters.

But, Liberty's aspirations to introduce a budget cap, and apparent confusion over the direction of technical regulations beyond 2020, are said to be a cause of deep frustration.

"There is that constant comparison of American sport and franchises versus Formula One," said Horner, the Red Bull team principal.

"American sport works in America and it doesn't work globally. Formula One has a different appeal. It is one of the biggest sports in the world and you can't just apply a US sports approach to something that has been established for 60 or 70 years as a global world championship.

"I think they absolutely underestimated what they were taking on. They probably thought there was some very low-hanging fruit and it has proved an awful lot harder than they thought.

"You can window-dress and promote a movie as much as you like, but if the film doesn't have the substance or isn't exciting, people won't watch it.

"Am I convinced they are the right people? Only time will tell. They will be judged on what Formula One becomes from 2021 onwards."

This year's F1 cars will run revised front wings in the hope that it will be easier to follow and spice up the racing.

But Horner, who described the decision by the sport's rule makers as a "mistake", added: "They have cherry-picked something in isolation from a future concept and rushed it through on to the current car.

"But there is no silver bullet so taking a front wing and saying it will make racing better is quite a naïve and ultimately, an expensive approach."

Horner's Red Bull team will launch their new car a week today, with Max Verstappen leading the charge to end Lewis Hamilton's recent dominance.

Verstappen finished fourth in the championship last year, but only Hamilton scored more points than the Dutchman during the second half of the season.

"Max has got the skill to take the fight to Lewis or Sebastian Vettel," said Horner.

"If we provide him with the tools to do the job, he is probably the driver that they fear the most.

"Lewis is at a different stage in his career to Max. At some point in the near future, it is only natural that the brightness of his star will start to fade."

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