Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn admitted that “it looks highly unlikely” that any of the midfield teams will be able to challenge for a podium position due to the ongoing performance difference between the top three teams Mercedes, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull compared to the rest.
The former Ferrari technical director has underlined his concerns between the pace gap on the 2018 grid having seen effectively two individual races run at the Chinese Grand Prix between the top three teams and the rest of the field. While Ross Brawn has relished seeing the competitive fight at the front, the ex-Ferrari and Mercedes boss accepts the difference to the rest of the F1 grid is too large with all three teams able to pull out a time buffer worth a full pit stop before being caught by its midfield rivals during the opening laps of the Chinese race.
“As was the case in Bahrain, and again in China, the gap between the first three and the rest of the pack was far too big.” – He explained, as reported by the British media – “On lap 16, prior to the run of pit stops the gap from leader Sebastian Vettel to seventh-placed Kevin Magnussen was over 35 seconds, with the Dane already trailing Daniel Ricciardo, the next man in front, by 20 seconds. The safety car mixed things up, but not enough to see a driver from the second group join the fight for podium places.” – the Formula 1 chief added.
Last year Formula One witnessed just one podium finish from outside of the top three teams, Lance Stroll’s dramatic third place for Williams at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but Ross Brawn is very well aware of the fact that the 2018 championship could see all of the midfield teams miss out on the rostrum: “In less than two weeks, we’ll be racing in Baku, which last year saw the only podium appearance of a driver from outside the top three teams: Williams’ Lance Stroll. Could the return to this very different street circuit throw up a result outside of the top three teams? On current form it looks highly unlikely.” – Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn concluded.