Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes Mercedes and Ferrari are “working as one team” to influence the future of Formula 1 for their own benefit. 

Following F1 owners Liberty Media’s initial blueprint of engine regulations for 2021, leading teams Mercedes and Ferrari highlighted their concerns about the future direction of the sport, with Scuderia president and CEO Sergio Marchionne warning that Ferrari could quit F1 if conditions did not favour the Italian squad.

The start of pre-season testing has reignited F1’s political battle, with the sport’s landscape expected to be at the forefront of discussions throughout the year, as off-track negotiations intensify between teams and FOM. On the first day of winter testing at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday, Horner used his first official media appearance to wade into the debate. 

“Mercedes and Ferrari are working as one team these days,” Horner told Sky Sports. “Sometimes it is difficult to tell which is which. For the last couple of years there has been a very tight relationship between Ferrari and Mercedes. They even broadcast each other's launches and things like that these days.”

Horner said he shares McLaren boss Zak Brown’s view that Liberty must have a firm set of 2021 engine plans set in stone by mid-season, or risk “public fireworks”.

"We are focused on going racing, things that we can control, there are new owners in Formula 1 in Liberty and they have to decide what they want Formula 1 to look like moving forwards.

"I'm sure they will lay out their roadmap and plan during the course of this season and we will go from there. But of course there is going to be a lot of posturing and positioning and you can see that has already started in certain quarters.”

In addition to its quit threat late last year, Ferrari suggested it would consider creating a breakaway series to rival F1, something the sport’s former supremo Bernie Ecclestone warned could become a reality on the eve of testing. However, Horner insists a rival series is unlikely. 

"Bernie knows every time the Concorde came up for renewal there was talk of a different series. Since my involvement over the past 14 years, every time it's up for renewal, bang there is another series mooted. It hasn't happened yet and I don't think it's going to happen at the moment.

"Formula 1 is and will be the pinnacle of motorsport and it is down to the commercial rights holder and the governing body to say 'this is what the future looks like' and then it's down to the teams whether they want to be part of it or not."

 

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