After a Canadian Grand Prix with just 22 changes of position, Ross Brawn has played down concerns that Formula One is delivering boring racing.
Sunday's lacklustre race came just two weeks after a similarly processional grand prix in Monaco and follows news of changes to the technical regulations to encourage more overtaking in 2019. Brawn said he was expecting Canada to produce a more exciting race, but agrees with Montreal's race winner Sebastian Vettel that all sports have a mix of exciting and dull events.
"The championship battle is really exciting this year, but it's true that in Montreal, as in Monaco, qualifying was probably more exciting than the race," Brawn said. "That's predictable in the streets of the Principality, but it's not what you expect at the Notre-Dame Island circuit, which has usually provided some very exciting racing with the winner in doubt until the end.
"I reckon the best response to those who say Formula One is boring based on two races is what Vettel said in the post- race conference: "We had seven races this year, I think some were phenomenal, some were boring. Next week the World Cup is starting and I promise you that a lot of the games will not be exciting, but still people will watch it, but some games will be incredible. That's what we always look forward to: but it can't just always continue to go up and get better."
"Like Sebastian, I'm a football fan and I too have seen games between top teams end in a dull goalless draw and there will probably be some like that in the forthcoming World Cup."
But Brawn admits the gap between the top six cars -- made up of drivers from Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes -- was too big in Canada and underlines the importance of new regulations in 2021 to close that gap.
"What we must do is ensure that Formula One can provide spectacular and unpredictable racing and that has to come from a more level playing field. Again in Canada, only the six cars from the top teams finished the race on the lead lap -- with Renault's Nico Hulkenberg best of the rest, a lap down.
"That's already happened elsewhere this year and that's not good for the sport. It's true that these things happen in football too, but to stick with the comparison, in football, you do get the fairytale scenarios such as Leicester winning the 2016 English Premier League or Les Herbiers being finalists in the French Cup this year.
"The next era of Formula One must be able to deliver feats such as these. That doesn't mean lowering the standards, quite the contrary. It means ensuring that talent and ingenuity should be the major factor in deciding who wins rather than just the size of budget."