Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is wary about other teams challenging Mercedes for the number one spot in 2017 and admits that only if there is a complete overhaul of the engine rules that will be possible.
The 2017 season will see a number of rule changes with the focus shifting to aerodynamics. The cars will use wider tires and will be able to use a bigger diffuser to provide more down force to the cars which will in turn aid more overtaking.
Red Bull are being tipped to be one of the favourites for next season, and they are widely believed to have the best chassis on the grid. The only reason they failed to compete with the all-conquering Mercedes team was due to the superiority of the German team's engines over the Austrian team, who were using Renault power units.
Mercedes have won three constructors' and drivers' championships since the sport moved to V6 Turbo engines and Ecclesstone remains confident that even with a superior car in terms of aerodynamics, the Christian Horner led team will not be able to beat Mercedes next season. The F1 chief has called for a complete overhaul in the engine rules and wants the sport to have powerful, noisy engines rather than go hybrid.
The 86-year-old also believes most of the rules in F1 are too complicated and has called for change and believes the races should entertain the viewers and not confuse them. The race stewards were involved more this season than any other season before with most drivers being penalized for on-track incidents. Ecclestone wants the drivers to handle the on-track incidents rather than complaining to the stewards.
"Red Bull believe they can beat Mercedes with better aerodynamics," Ecclestone said in an interview with German newspaper Bild, as quoted by ESPN F1. "However, I'm not so sure about that. Mercedes' advantage on the engine side still is large. Because of this we have to introduce new engine rules as soon as possible.
"It doesn't matter [what kind of engine rules]. The important thing is to rule out the hybrid engines. [FIA president] Jean Todt thinks they are the spirit of our times, and this may be true for normal road cars. But in F1, people want to see something special.
"They want to have noisy, powerful engines that can be managed only by the best drivers in the world. You don't put orthopedic shoes onto your pro football players, do you, just because these kinds of shoes are popular in everyday life?" the F1 CEO questioned.
"The rules must be changed: all of them. They are too complicated. We are in the entertainment business. But how are we supposed to entertain people when the audience doesn't understand a thing any more?
"Even the drivers don't know anymore what they can and cannot do on track. Sometimes I think the rule book just says: "Don't race!" But let them touch from time to time, so what? Let the drivers handle it themselves," he added.