Jean Todt says he is certain Renault and Honda have the ability to catch Mercedes and Ferrari, despite Christian Horner saying the sport cannot afford to the manufacturers struggling in this climate.

The Red Bull Racing team principal has reiterated his desire for F1 to provide greater leeway in the engine regulations to allow Renault and Honda to make the changes they need to get on terms with Mercedes and Ferrari.

Indeed, Horner doesn't believe F1 should allow Renault - which has openly said it is considering its future in the sport - and Honda to struggle and potentially leave, or deter others from joining.

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"I don't think Formula 1 can afford for Honda and Renault to be in the situation that they are. We had the new president of Honda in Austria and I don't think we put a great show on for him.

"For Renault again, it is not a great encouragement for them to commit further to the sport, when the penalties that we are imposing, the public embarrassment there is over engine failure."

However, Todt has played down the prospect of F1 being dominated by Mercedes, insisting each major change of regulation has had the effect of one team coming out stronger, before the playing field levels again over the coming years.

"We know when you have a new regulation, one team or one manufacturer gets it better than the others," the FIA president said. "This is why I do agree that stability in the regulations is important because it means after two or three years things become much more balanced.

"You could see last year Mercedes was really much stronger than everybody else. This year Ferrari did a good step forwards. Unfortunately you have a newcomer which is still apparently struggling, and you have Renault which did not yet put everything together.

"So I think that's about what you were mentioning about the engines. But about the engines I am convinced that it is now a question of time before three, hopefully four manufacturers can be close to each other."