Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn believes Formula 1 is not being held back by the domination of a single team.
Since the introduction of F1’s turbo hybrid engine regulations in 2014, Mercedes has been the sport’s dominant force, winning 32 of a possible 38 Grands Prix over the last two seasons and sealing the drivers’ and constructors’ titles with ease both years.
While observers have criticised the sport for becoming ‘boring’ as a result, Kaltenborn feels that domination is not a turn-off, as the sport has gone through cycles of different teams enjoying Mercedes’ current position.
"For me actually, that’s [domination] never been any negative point in our series, because all of us have been in that situation," she said.
"If you go back to the years of Michael Schumacher, how many years did [Ferrari] dominate?
"And look at all the things which were attached to it – tyres were developed for one team, for one driver basically, and you never had these kinds of discussions.”
Elaborating on Ferrari's dominant spell with Schumacher in the early 2000s, Kaltenborn thinks it was in fact beneficial to F1 as a whole.
"There are teams which are liked more by the fans and some which are liked less by the fans," she added.
"But this is got to do with the team, the colour you saw out there in the grandstands was usually red.
"It was just good for the sport, it was going up like this, if you see in terms of viewers, sponsors, any other commercial deals, so that’s not a problem."
Every team has a part to play
Kaltenborn nonetheless warned that the dominant team at any given time has a responsibility to help ensure the sport remained healthy by not abusing their position.
"Every team plays their role in F1,” she said. “To a team like ours, it doesn’t really affect us in that way if one team dominates.
"But it is important that you don’t use that dominance to push the sport in a direction which is maybe not good for the entire sport.
"You have to respect all teams, be it number one, number two or number 10, because everybody has their part to play and everybody contributes to the F1 show.”
The 44-year-old thinks that a lack of diversity at the front of the field, rather than domination per se, is the reason for the sport’s diminishing popularity.
"Why do we have so many issues? They say it’s because of the dominance of the team, but in fact it’s because the diversity is not there,” she said.
"It didn’t matter if, in the time of Schumacher, that he won the title in Magny-Cours [in 2002], and you still had so many races to come.
"It was the fact that more teams could be on podium, more teams could deliver that kind of result [that made it interesting].”
Interview by Jonathan Noble