‘Naive to think rules would destabilise Mercedes’

Rather than this year's rule changes negating Mercedes' advantage, Ross Brawn has warned that it could "give them an advantage."

Mercedes will arrive on this year's grid as the thrice defending World Champions, having dominated Formula 1 since the introduction of the V6 engines.

This are hopes among their rivals that this year's overhaul of the aerodynamic regulations will see a change of the guard.

Brawn, F1's new sporting director, says that's unlikely to happen.

"We expose ourselves whenever we make changes like this," he told Sky Sports News.

"Fingers crossed, it is going to work out but I think it is a good example of where we didn't go through the right principles to begin with. 

"And if this was a principle to stop Mercedes winning, you could argue the exact contrary.

"A team that strong and with that resource will relish change. It was naïve to think it would destabilise Mercedes.

"If anything it gave them an advantage."

The Brit, though, is hoping that in time Formula 1 will have more teams up there fighting for the big prizes.

"In the long run, we need to make sure more teams have the capability to compete," he said.

"At the bottom of the grid, the commercial consideration of the driver is much stronger than it is at the front of the grid. 

"If we can put the smaller teams on a sounder footing then l think the whole sport will improve and you will get more Verstappens coming through than you do now."

However, that hasn't always been his goal in Formula 1.

"If I'm honest, my objective for thirty years was not to have close racing and my objective was to compete at a level where nobody can beat me.

"I'm poacher turned gamekeeper now because my priority is closer racing!"

"But we must not do it artificially and we must not penalise a team because they are doing an exceptional job. 

"Someone has suggested that if a team is winning then they should have their development frozen until the rest catch up. The fans will just see straight through it and become disillusioned."

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