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F1 ‘not about fastest car and driver anymore’

May 1, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

AUTO-PRIX-F1-BAHRAIN

Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Red Bull and owner of two Formula One teams, is concerned about the direction the sport is heading in.

“Formula One no longer has anything to do with ‘classic’ racing,” warned Mateschitz. “Today, it’s not the fastest driver in the fastest car who wins, but the one with the optimum tire management.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has repeatedly criticized the softer tire compounds being used this year, claiming they disadvantage his team.

Mateschitz reiterated that point in his recent quotes: “We’ve even had to scale down our car, because the tires were not lasting. If we really went as fast as we can, we would need 10 to 15 pit stops.”

Red Bull’s perceived disadvantage has not prevented them from enjoying a successful start to the season.

The team scored a one-two in Malaysia and Sebastian Vettel took a second win in Bahrain. He’s been on pole position twice, on the podium three times and is leading the drivers’ championship. Red Bull also enjoy a 16-point lead over closest rivals Lotus in the constructors’ championship.

However McLaren’s Sam Michael believes the tires have turned F1 into “a thinking man’s game”.

“If you look at China, the top five places were filled by five world champions – and that is not an accident,” said Michael.

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