Formula One’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn has hit out at the “unacceptable” levels of the sport’s midfield teams, including Daniel Ricciardo’s new team Renault.
Renault haven’t managed a podium since rejoining the sport in 2016 but have improved year-on-year, and secured a best finish of fourth in the Constructors’ Championship this season.
However, they still finished 297 points third-placed Red Bull, the team Ricciardo is leaving, and Brawn has warned that “the future of Formula One” depends on the midfield teams finding a way to compete with the top three.
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No driver in a car that isn’t a Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari has won a race since the current regulations were brought in 2014 while there has only been two occasions in the last two years that a driver from outside the top three teams has even managed a podium.
“They 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.
“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 One depends on it. There are various solutions on the table and we must all accept that we can’t go on like this for too much longer.
“I don’t mean to cause offence 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.”