Bernie Ecclestone has called for a return to the days when a dictator – himself – ruled the sport, rather than the current format which requires a majority of several to vote in favour, or even a unanimous decision, to implement changes.
When Ecclestone, along with former FIA president Max Mosley, governed the sport, they more often than not got what they wanted as decisions didn’t have to go through various stages of voting like they do now with the Strategy Group, F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council.
Ecclestone believes the current democratic system has failed because Ferrari and Mercedes have too much power, allowing them to influence almost the entire grid bar three teams which they don’t supply with engines.
“I have often complained in recent years and now I complain again – our structure is wrong,” the 85-year-old told Sovetsky Sport. “We have allowed Ferrari and Mercedes to run [the sport]. Why is that? They supply engines to most of the other teams and, of course, have a major influence over them.
“Now they have too much leverage to block any changes that we want to introduce. When we try to come up with something new, we need agreement from all participants of the championship. This is the wrong way to go.
“This is a case when democracy does not work in the best way. We need to return to the good old days, when we built Formula 1. When I was in a much stronger position. When I was a dictator! And with the current democracy, many people simply manipulate the championship [according] to their own interests.”
Whilst Ecclestone says he understands where Mercedes are coming from in their recent efforts to block changes to the power units, he believes their dominance could begin to hurt their own brand as well as that of the sport.
“I understand that Mercedes does not want anything changed,” he added. “The team in its own right – it has invested a lot of work and money in their engines and does not want to part with their advantage. But there is nothing worse than the dominance of one team.
“Eventually people begin to resent them and suspect that the competition is not conducted on a level playing field.”
He also blames falling television audiences on their dominance, with fans already knowing the result before the race has even begun.
“People complain to me,” he said. “They say that before they were looking forward to each race, but now that feeling is gone. Because in qualifying [they know] Lewis will win again, and everyone knows what will happen next.
“I, frankly, do not care who wins the next grand prix. If Lewis wins his fourth title this year – great! I just want him to do it in the last corner of the last race. And not in Monza, with the seven races before the finish of the season.”