Robert Fernley believes it is too late to address the large gap that has developed between the top three teams and the rest of the field in 2017, but expects Liberty Media to address the spending advantage of those teams at the front of the field.
The Deputy Team Principal of the Sahara Force India F1 Team saw both of his drivers lapped during the season opening Australian Grand Prix, and he pinpoints the big divide in what the supposed big three teams – Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing – spend compared to those embroiled in the midfield battle.
“I think it’s going to probably get worse,” said Fernley on Autosport. “That’s the worrying part about it, and that’s the bit that I think Liberty are seeing very much as a concern for the show. And rightly so.
“And I think hopefully that will get addressed in the coming months. At the moment it’s just how much money you can spend. Whilst you’ve got that, the disparity is just ridiculous.”
Fernley believes that Liberty Media will be looking to address the divide, although it would be hard to impose any limits during the current season, and although not laying the blame at the feet of the teams with the higher budgets, he hopes something is done to level up the playing field within Formula 1.
“I don’t think anything can be done this season but it can be brought in progressively,” said Fernley. “We are where we are, but if there’s a willingness to make those moves and [Liberty] do make them – which I believe they’re keen to do – then it can only benefit the sport going forward.
“And we’ve also got to be respectful of those [leading] teams. If they’ve got to cut back, we’ve got to do it in a way that allows them to do it in a dignified manner. It’s not their fault that they’re where they are – it’s the process that’s wrong.”