Fernley has ‘no sympathy for Horner’

Date published: March 19 2015

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley hopes Mercedes' current dominance serves as a wake-up call to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and the rest of the F1 community.

Having made a clean sweep to the titles last year, Mercedes continued where they left off at the 2015 opener in Australia with Lewis Hamilton leading home a 1-2 and Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari more than 30s off the pace in third place.

It led to calls from Horner on the FIA to use an equalisation measure to reduce Mercedes' gap at the front and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has backed the calls.

Fernley, though, doesn't have sympathy for Red Bull, who dominated the sport from 2010 to 2013, as Force India have been raising concerns about the state of F1 for a quite a while now.

"It's a shame it's taken him (Horner) so long to work it out!" he told Press Association Sport.

"I've no sympathy for where he is because how long have we been saying there are issues? It is one that has been progressively growing worse and we identified 18 months ago.

"The four big teams, including Red Bull, were adamant nothing needed to be done, and now Red Bull are getting squeezed a bit, and probably coming under pressure from their owners.

"Even at the last F1 Commission meeting they were not prepared to yield anything, and that was only a month ago.

"The reality is now setting in – welcome to the real world.

"They've needed to wake up, and maybe Christian has now woken up because this problem has been there for some time, it's not new."

Following the demise of Caterham and Marussia at the backend of the 2014 campaign, Force India, Lotus and Sauber led calls on the powers that be to make changes but Fernley fears nothing will be done in the immediate future.

"We have to keep plugging away, we've programmes we're working on, and hopefully common sense will prevail at some point," he said.

"But you can't blame Mercedes for doing a good job. Everybody else has the same opportunity.

"Clearly Ferrari stepped up their game over the winter.

"With Red Bull is it entirely Renault? Their 'sister' car (Toro Rosso) performed reasonably well and with two young guys in the car.

"You look at Sauber (who have a Ferrari power unit), even they were a better car on the day than Red Bull, so it cannot all be engine related."