Mercedes are “odds-on favourites” to win seven titles in a row – Brown

2018 F1 season

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Mercedes has a realistic chance of extending its streak of four consecutive championship success to seven according to McLaren group executive director Zak Brown.

With no major change in the technical regulations likely between now and 2021, Brown foresees three more years of success for the current champions but warned about the effect that could have on F1.

Mercedes and Ferrari have opposed changes to F1’s rules which could promote closer competition. Brown said he understands their position but urged F1 owners Liberty Media should press on with their plans which he believes will ultimately benefit all the teams.

“If you’re Ferrari and Mercedes, especially Mercedes dominating the sport, you’ve got all the revenue,” said Brown. “So on one hand I understand why they’d want to protect that position.”

“I think we need to ask ourselves if Mercedes win seven championships in a row, how’s that going to impact the sport? And is that healthy for anybody in the sport? And I think under the current regulations, current spend, you’ve got to say they’re odds-on favourite to win the next three years.”

“We’ve got a chance to course-correct with 2021, looks like, but we need to do that now because I think Formula One will be much more entertaining and therefore more valuable to all of us if we have four, five, six teams winning races, that have a chance at a championship.”

“I think that will ultimately be healthier and I don’t think Mercedes gets any more credit winning 15 races and the championship than they do winning five races and winning the championship, and all that will actually do is make the sport more entertaining than it is today.”

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Brown said Ferrari and Mercedes are “very like-minded” in their response to Liberty’s plans to overhaul the sport and “have not responded favourably in the meetings I’ve been in” to proposals to cap spending and introduce simpler engines.

He believes Liberty should “focus on what’s best for the sport and what’s best for the fan” and accept not all teams will completely support their plans.

Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2004
Can Mercedes match Ferrari’s record of dominance? 2018’s stats to watch
“I think they need to be prepared to recognise that you’re not going to make everyone happy so their centring needs to be on what’s best for the sport. And if someone feels that’s to do the detriment of their racing team then I’d rather lose one, replace them and have 10, than have one or two teams in the championship.”

Brown said the possibility of Ferrari and Mercedes leaving F1 is “highly unlikely but I think anything’s possible.”

“Therefore we need to land on a set of rules that allow those that are looking at the sport to come in. It’d be unexpected and hopefully highly unlikely that they were to leave.”

“[But] sport needs to go on. I think Ferrari’s a unique case because they’re Ferrari, but we’ve lost BMW, we’ve lost Toyota, we’ve lost Honda before, we’ve all seen manufacturers come and go and the sport has always survived.”

“So I think we’ve got to write rules moving forward of what’s best for the sport, not best for today’s manufacturers.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “Mercedes are “odds-on favourites” to win seven titles in a row – Brown”

  1. So the political war has begun. Great.

    1. Uhh… that war began sometime around 1990. Or earlier.

      We wound up where we are because of Bernie’s divide and conquer techniques.

  2. It’s naive to think that Brown’s opinion would be the same should McLaren was the team dominating the sport, but ultimately that’s what should be done by Liberty. They should think and do what’s best for the sport. In this case, due all the interests involved, the only way to do it is being like in a dictatorship. We know F1 will survive, even if we lost 1 manufacturer to FE in the process. And Ferrari won’t quit.

    1. If it was mclaren winning they’d say the same thing. Of course. But looking past the meaningless statements everybody knows that mercedes winning effortless 7 championships is not good for the sport. Toto knows it, lauda knows and the mercedes board knows it. Ferrari knows it. The drivers know it, everybody knows it. But this is about money. Nobody wants to give away their success. Mercedes has gotten enough power to halt progress on any rule changes that might hurt them and everybody in that position would do the same. They have also spend a lot of money buying that power.

      The problem is that the teams like mercedes and ferrari have too much power. They should not be able to hold the sport hostage like this. I mean half of the teams are not even part of the decision making progress. 6 teams are in the strategy group. Even if zak is speaking directly from his mclaren perspective he is still 100% correct.

  3. Many of us see the greatness of this Mercedes Organization. Their dominance is remarkable in light of the challenges of Formula One. Consider how they didn’t lose a step through dramatic rule changes of 2017.
    What we are now in for is to see Lewis take a shot at Michaels record of victories. Hamilton could surpase the 100 win mark. Recently fans were critical of my suggestion that we are seeing a rare “dominance” in the sport currently by the Sliver cars. If this is not dominance then what is. I also strongly suggest we are witnessing the greatest driver ever. And that lesser machines from other teams have little if any chance of currently ever beating the Mercedes. Ferrari lovers may argue but Vettles chance for victory is based on a rare Mercedes flaw on raceday usually. After that the only other chance to win is RedBull and their odds are worse.

    So on to dominance and the 2018 Mercedes. Oh Lewis will be motivated for sure. This is going to be a Solid Link Season.
    I love the challenge of a new season and am eager to see which combination might have a chance at Hamilton and the Mercedes

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      8th February 2018, 18:26

      I’m not sure if he can challenge Michael’s victory record – he would need 3-4 years at least to get there. But Lewis might be able to challenge the combined poles and wins (91 wins + 68 poles = 159) that Michael has. Lewis is currently at 134 (62 wins + 72 poles) so he has 25 to go. If he gets 10 poles and 10 wins in 2018, he’ll be within arm’s reach but nothing is guaranteed in F1 :-)

      I think he may also be able to surpass Michael’s number of podiums (155 vs 117).

    2. What do these driver records ultimately matter? It all depends on being in the right seat at the right time, not on being the best.

      1. So does that mean Michaels records don’t matter? Does that mean he’s not the best? (Though I don’t think he is)

      2. @krommenaas what does anything REALLY MEAN? I mean, around twenty other drivers also make it to the finish line, what’s the difference?? A couple minutes?

        This is Racing, it matters. I’m not what I consider a “stats dork”, but don’t be dense and say it doesn’t matter. Especially in a year when someone like bottas has had an identical championship material car.

        Don’t be dense, if you don’t like stats… move along.

        1. +1000

          Of course it matters.

          Further try telling Nico Rosberg or Seb that it was just the car!

      3. @krommenaas, and how does a driver get the right seat at the right time ?

        1. Quit being a robot brokenness. Fans of F1 follow it closely because it really does matter to a lot of us……

      4. @krommenaas Often the right seat at the right time comes to those who have caught the right people’s attention due to their performances in whatever series. Not always but often. Schumacher was actually being groomed for DTM type racing with Mercedes, not for F1 with Benetton.

        But anyway, what I think you are not realizing is that just having the car isn’t a guarantee. A necessary ingredient yes, as virtually all WDCs had the WCC winning car, or at least a very close second place car in the WCC. So then it is up to the driver to not squander the equipment they are so lucky to have. And we get to see drivers in these top cars then in a position to have to show us how they can handle pressure while it is at it’s greatest, which can only come when a driver is in a win and Championship capable car. Oh sure all drivers are under some sort of pressure as they are always under a microscope and always need to be doing everything they can so that they ensure progress for themselves toward a winning car, but there is nothing like the pressure of fighting for the WDC.

        1. True, I think schumacher is better than hamilton but not by far, and obviously, over time records like these are becoming easier and easier to beat.

          Who says fangio wasn’t at least as good as schumacher? Hard to compare, but he only won 24 gps or so, cause back then there were only 7 races a season and you were already old when starting, so you could race for less seasons.

          Then races have generally been increased to 11, then 15-16 and now we’ve had 21-race seasons, and we’ve had driver like schumacher, raikkonen, massa, barrichello and alonso who stay in f1 for over 15 years, so ofc if you’re good enough and got several years with a dominant car you’re advantaged.

          An example that skill is not enough is alonso, after 2006 he never had a REAL title contending car, ferrari in the years he got close was like 1997 ferrari vs williams, where it was only close cause it was schumacher vs villeneuve, and obviously if alonso had been at mercedes the same years hamilton has, he’d have a lot more wins and hamilton a lot less.

          Hamilton also got the luck to start with a championship contending team already in his first year, his junior record might’ve been impressive, but he still got a chance that didn’t happen for most top drivers, see schumacher, senna, vettel for example.

          1. Ops, alonso after 2007 never had a real title contending car*

          2. Apart from the LH downer you have going on here, I would argue Alonso had numerous championship worthy cars after 07.

            Truthfully no one other than Red Bull had an absolute warranted one pre 014 but Alonso certainly had a second best for much of that period or depending on the circuit, occasionally third best car, along with something that few realise as critical to a year long campaign. He had a rock solid reliable car when compared to either Red Bull or more importantly Macca. That, added to the fact he was the undisputed number one driver conferrred many advantages that largely outweighed any speed advantage Macca had from 2010-13 particularly as those at Macca were also racing each other. No point in fast if you can’t finish (see Macca 012) or counting which cars are best when your team mate is free to fight equally (see Macca and RB 010 or Renault…)

            Alonso however, through the factors indicated above and being an excellent racer was there or thereabouts and in 012 right at the door (010 too) bar some daft team mistakes.

            Hardly some wrecker from the back of the grid was it?

            Truth be told the mythical Alonso would have far fewer credits to his name without a number one status demand and a very reliable for the time car and team. It also factored into much of Shumi successes as well.

            Despite all those disadvantages by the way, Lewis won more races than anyone other than Seb in those Red Bull years despite the obvious issues within the team. Sometimes class is just that. You do not have to like it but given his willingness to have a racy team mate… sorry but Lewis gets more credit from me than Shumi or our current other champions.

  4. I kind of agree that F1 has to prepare itself for the loss of the Mercedes and Ferrari works teams. In order to properly restructure the sport it can’t be held hostage by certain teams, else we’re just exactly where we are now with the finances.

    However, could the sport afford the loss of the engines? They supply 7 teams between them. Is it likely they’ll pull out their teams but keep the engine supply to their customers? What’s Zak Brown’s thoughts on that?

    1. I don’t get the sense that they will be leaving. They are not far from agreement with much of what Brawn has been proposing for the future and there are many discussions and there’s much tweaking ahead yet too. I think odds are very strong that they will find no reason to leave, by the time the dust settles.

      I think if Liberty and Brawn were going to make such big changes that they would be risking Merc and Ferrari leaving, they’d also have a plan for that possibility. They’d know their decisions were going to mean those teams leaving and therefore would have a plan for that.

      But this is all way overkill imho. Brawn has already said the teams are quite close in agreement with each other and with the proposals so far, so it sounds like there is nothing that can’t be sorted for the best for everyone.

      1. Oh, I’m not saying they will leave. I’m saying how do you conduct a fair and equitable negotiation when you have two teams with that level of leverage over you? I supsect that ultimately Mercedes and Ferrari will get what they want – the question will be whether the rest of the teams get what they want.

        I suspect Liberty’s best hope is to change the system by increments.

  5. Consider how they didn’t lose a step through dramatic rule changes of 2017

    Well, considering all the rule changes did was put more emphasis on mechanical and aerodynamical grip it’s really not that spectacular. Mercedes were already head and shoulders above the rest in that department. And considering they still have the best engine both in power and reliability they were always going to be favorites this year. It got closer between the top 3 but Mercedes didn’t lose any of its advantages like Ferrari did in ’05 or Williams in ’94 for example.

    I also strongly suggest we are witnessing the greatest driver ever.

    Nothing I’ve seen from Hamilton this year suggests that. Even Bottas managed to outrace him numerous times. That shouldn’t happen to the best there ever was. 2007 was imo a more impressive year. This year was riddled with mistakes and off races up until the summer brake. In 2007 he went from slightly behind a double world champion to about equal in a couple race weekends and only lost the title through McLaren’s brilliant race ruining tactic in China.

    I do agree on the dominance of the Mercedes though. It’s likely they’ll be favorites for at least 2 more years. Unless the FIA does something to take away one (or more) of their advantages.

    1. This is supposed to be a response to Tedbell

    2. @baron ‘Even Bottas managed to outrace him numerous times.’
      – True…. So did Barrichello against Schumacher, Webber against Vettel (“not bad for a number 2”), Senna v Prost, Hamilton v Rosberg…. I could go on! The fact of the matter is in the numbers. Granted, you could claim ‘Hamilton is in a dominant car’, but so was Senna, Prost, Schumacher when they were racking up multiple championships.
      …I would argue Hamilton has been as successful as he has against tougher teammates, Button (a worthy champion), Rosberg (ditto) and despite 4 years of Vettel dominance, and cries that he’s distracted with his music, celebrity etc.
      In 10, 20, 30 years time Hamilton will be in the books as one of the all time greats for sure, with no lesser a claim to ‘greatest driver ever’ than anyone else when measured by the same criteria

      1. @swh1386 Wrong Baron. Please don’t tag the untaggable (not forum registered = no ‘@‘ next to their handle and no email is generated) Thanks.

        1. @baron Jeez sorrrrry!

          1. No problem, trying to cut down on irrelevant emails. If everyone bothered to register there wouldn’t be an issue of duplicated forum names, but actually it’s an F1Fanatic issue because the system allows for casual posters alongside regular registered posters with duplication of forum names. It doesn’t happen very often but it happens to me. The “other” Baron knows this is an issue for me but continues to use my registered forum name. It’s irritating which is probably why he continues to do it. All he has to do is either change his forum name or register in another forum name.

          2. Frankly, many of his comments are irratating as well.

            The one above in your name is truly so…


    3. The difference between MSC/VET, and a HAM type driver… is a msc/vet style driver will go for a fastest lap on the final lap, while a ham style driver will be content with winning…

      You can say what you will about whichever’s style, it is what it is… but I respect lewis’s style more than Vettels “a championship isn’t enough, I have to defy my team orders and screw over a worthy team mate of a win, BECAUSE HE DOESNT DESERVE IT”. I feel like if ham had to beat bottas, he would have.

      That’s the way I see it…

      1. @swh1386 Like this 🤔

  6. Self serving drivel coming from the team that had Mercedes engines but thought they could do better elsewhere (although not Zac’s call).

    1. Well in fairness is it not pretty much a well known fact by now that in this format you pretty much need to be a works team to win the Championships? They were just trying to be that with Honda. Brawn wants to head back away from that to more of something we had before, namely plug in engines so that other makers may want to participate, and so that not just factory works teams stand a chance.

      1. @robbie, fair enough, but if that is really true, and it can only be true if the PU has secret software modes customer teams can’t access and/or the supplier vetoes max power in favour of longevity, then the FIA should do more to ensure customer teams have an equally competitive PU, not keep changing the design in the vain hope that things will change.

        1. @hohum I wasn’t really thinking in terms of secret software modes, although sure that can come into it, but rather how the pu is nowadays tied in with braking systems via energy recovery. I believe Brawn seemed to have hinted at something along the lines of even just a more universal way of mounting a pu onto a different makers chassis.

          So I think of today’s cars as

          1. Oops hit post comment by mistake…I think of today’s cars as one unit, with a pu integrated in there in a complex way that would be different for each factory team and that customers would have to build their car for…specifically for that makers engine. Whereas I envision Brawn’s idea is of anybody’s chassis being able to accommodate anybody’s pu due to less complexity and more universality in how they are married together under the skin of the car, like has been moreso the case in the past.

          2. @robbie, well that makes sense, but it shouldn’t require a new engine design, and deceleration (not braking) power harvesting should not affect the PU as it is both adjustable and processed through the battery before being used.

  7. I disagree! The regs have been stable for a few years now, historically we see the competition closing up given stability. Ferrari were closer in 2017 than the results show. There’s nothing to suggest they can’t challenge again this season with a little reliability and luck.
    Come 2021, a manufacturer with Mercedes huge resources are in a prime spot to stretch their legs when everything changes again

    1. I would tend to agree with your performance conversion theory if it wasn’t for these complicated power units. Unfortunately, 50% of the PU manufacturers on the grid still can’t get the formula right after 4 seasons. Ferrari, on paper, are the only team capable of beating Mercedes before 2021, but they seem to be falling short as usual.

      1. @todford, But surely being able to get it right is the whole point of F1.

  8. Who says they wont dominate in 2021? Pretty sure theyll be at the pointy end along with Ferrari

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