|Christian Horner with his new squeeze, singer Jeri Halliwell|
Red Bull boss Christian Horner is concerned Mercedes' power unit advantage over the rest of the field is putting fans off Formula One while only adding to the sport's financial problems.
After dominating the first year under new engine regulations in 2014, Mercedes is showing no sign of loosening its grip on the front of the grid this year despite more opportunities for its rivals to catch up over the winter. Red Bull's supplier Renault is hoping just to halve the gap to Mercedes this year, which would be a significant achievement under the regulations but still result in Red Bull struggling to match the world champions.
Since the end of last year, Horner has been pushing the idea of ripping up the engine rule book and starting again with the aim of creating a level playing field with cheaper engines.
"I think it's important we have good racing and obviously the closer the field is, the better the racing will be," he told City AM. "I think that's the most fundamental thing that fans appreciate. The power unit at the moment is a big performance differentiator. I think the gap between the best and the worst needs to be reduced, and that will automatically create closer racing."
Horner said the cost of the current engines is also the driving factor behind the problems smaller teams face at the moment but that F1 cannot agree on a solution.
"I think it's important that we get costs under control, that all teams are viable operating concerns," he added. "Obviously the power unit is a big cost-driver so that's an element that needs looking at with quite a bit of urgency. I think they're the fundamental things and that's in everybody's interests. I think there's a lot going on discussion-wise but, as always, we talk a lot without concluding as much as we should have done.
"The most important thing that we do collectively is look to try and address the current issues with the power unit in terms of the cost and the burden that's placing not just on the customer teams but also on the manufacturers themselves. So I think fundamentally that's the most important thing we need to look at in the very near future." ESPN.co.uk