|© AP Photo/Saurabh Das
Sauber team principal Monisha Kalternborn has called for smaller teams to have a bigger say in the future of Formula 1.
Kalternborn said on Friday her team is uncomfortable with the makeup of the series' new Strategy Group that will work on rules and technical changes for F1 and is dominated by the larger teams.
"Sauber is clearly not so comfortable with it because we are not on it," Kalternborn said. "We've nothing against a group that looks at certain matters and can bring up ideas, and maybe you say this is the right way to go, but what matters is that all interests are represented."
The Strategy Group replaces the Sporting and Technical Working Group which was represented by all the F1 teams. The new group includes only six teams - Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus - along with six members each from world governing body FIA and Formula One Management.
Kaltenborn said she feared the new system will not ensure a fair representation.
"We can't be happy being excluded from this group because we do have to ensure, and that is where the danger lies, that there is a proper representation of interests in there," she said.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the Strategy Group will not run the series on its own.
"The group is part of a process that has been introduced. A group that did not previously exist to try and make headway in making regulations," Horner said. "All the teams still sit on the F1 commission and have the right to reject new regulations."
He said the development of the new group is "positive."
"We basically have teams with a firm commitment for many years to come," Horner said. "This way, we'll hopefully introduce changes with consultation of other groups in an efficient way, for years to come."
Force India owner Vijay Mallya said he initially resisted the move toward the Strategy Group, but endorsed it after receiving assurances from its members.
"When this idea was first mooted, I definitely did question whether the intention was to restrict decision making to the six teams to the exclusion of the smaller teams," Mallya said. "But when I was assured that the group was to advise on future strategy, which was to be then debated or voted upon by the F1 commission where everyone is represented, I was convinced."
Mallya said he had been promised that smaller teams' interests would not be compromised.
"I spoke to all six of them individually and they said they'll look after the interests of all," he added. "On the basis of that, I too voted to approve this new structure. So long as things work out as they are intended to ..."