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F1 must embrace 2017 rules revolution – Horner

Christian Horner has urged F1 to push ahead with plans to substantially speed up the cars for 2017.

The Red Bull chief’s comments follow hot on the heels of former protege Sebastian Vettel claiming formula one risks becoming “lost” amid the controversial power unit era in which Mercedes is dominating.

“I think Sebastian is right in that the drivers need to be the stars,” Horner said on Wednesday at the launch of Red Bull’s new livery for 2016.

“We’ve got a chance for 2017 and it’s important that we get that right,” he added.

“The chassis changes for 2017 need to put the emphasis on the driver and the cars for 2017 need to be big, difficult and powerful and really stretch the drivers so you get a bigger differentiation between them.

“We have got a golden opportunity to address that and it’s important we don’t miss that in the next couple of weeks,” said Horner.

While the 2017 shakeup has been under discussion for some time, there have been rumblings recently that Mercedes is urging caution and Pirelli is warning that laptime cannot be slashed unless much more testing is done.

Behind the scenes, the situation appears highly political, amid rumours the FIA is even keeping open its options to bring Michelin back to the negotiating table.

Auto Motor und Sport claims Michelin thinks high-performance tyres can be supplied “without testing”, and it could explain why the FIA is yet to sign off Pirelli’s new 2017 F1 contract.

Mere weeks ago, Pirelli boss Paul Hembery admitted: “I guess if there’s no contract anyone could walk away, but we have a contract with Bernie (Ecclestone) and FOM so the rest of the agreements I’m sure will follow in due course.”

Pressure is also being put on the teams to agree a way forward within the coming days, as it emerges that authorities rejected Williams’ plan to delay the rule changes until 2018.

“It was even suggested just before Christmas not to change anything, which would be a disaster,” said Horner.

Auto Motor und Sport explained: “At the last meeting of technical directors, it was discussed whether to extend the deadline by a further two months, in order to stop poor compromises being made.”

Horner thinks FIA president Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone should simply call the shots.

“We’re never going to keep everyone happy,” he insisted.  “But by trying to placate different views we’ll end up diluting change.”