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'Worried' Lauda questions F1's future under Liberty Media

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Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda is troubled by Formula 1's prospects under the guidance of new owners Liberty Media.

As Formula 1 defines its future path amid discussions with teams on the sport's engine rules beyond 2020, Lauda admits he is worried by what he currently sees.

"I'm worried," conceded the F1 great in an interview with Italy's Gazzetto dello Sport.

"It was right that the American owners needed time to understand what F1 is – but that is about to expire. And what they think about the future is worrying me.

"The FIA, Chase Carey and Ross Brawn repeat that we need to level the performance, but the DNA of F1 is the opposite.

"You are a fool if you think that to make Grands Prix more attractive you need to have a different winner every weekend. F1 is about competition.

"Developing cars is one of the important foundations, as well as the bravery of the drivers.

"Instead, you want to penalise the best teams, and protect the drivers as if they are babies – with the introduction of the Halo for example."

The Formula One Group announced its third quarter financial results last week which saw a drop of income for the teams following a shortfall of revenue associated with one less race on the calendar (the German Grand Prix) and an acceleration in expenses linked to new investments.

The team's prize money fund reached $273 million at the end of September, which represents a 13 percent decrease compared to the same period last year. The numbers caught Lauda's attention.

"In the face of cost growth of some 70 million (Euro) from one year to the next, revenues have declined," said the Austrian.

"But where do we want to go from here? There should be ideas for generating more money, but I do not see them.

"I heard from Sean Bratches, who would like to see the drivers accompanied with grid kids. Is imitating football having new ideas?"

While Lauda agrees with Formula 1's plans to lower costs, mainly those associated with its power units, he believes the sport is now in dire need of a broader plan for the future, but with clear specifics laid out for the teams.

"It needs a more open project," said the three-time world champion.

"For example, the budget cap. It is logical and correct but it needs a three-year plan to realise it.

"We have employees, so what do we do with them? Do we just cast them off and throw them on the road?

"For now Liberty has only announced that they want to introduce it, but they have not explained how they intend to realise it."

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