Budapest: Formula One needs Bernie Ecclestone in charge more than ever as it seeks to chart a way through its current difficulties, Red Bull team chief Christian Horner told AFP on Saturday.
In an exclusive interview, Horner praised the sport`s supremo, a man it has been suggested he might replace as F1`s recognised boss and leader.
"Bernie has done a great job for Formula One and the success of Formula One is all because of Bernie Ecclestone. F1 needs him more than ever now to guide us through this difficult period," said Horner.
Asked to compare the eras of Ecclestone`s long reign as the sport`s ring-master, Horner said: "It is difficult to compare the past and the present because it is always evolving."
Horner also bemoaned the possibility of a 21-race calendar next year, saying he hoped it would be cut to a more acceptable size at a meeting in October.
"It looks tough for everybody," he said. "Tough for the whole factory not to have a summer break. I think it`s important that we have one."
Speaking at the Hungaroring on the eve of the 10th race of this year`s 19-race season, Horner said Red Bull team`s young Russian driver Daniil Kvyat, 21, had proved himself to be an avid learner and had made great progress this year.
"He is learning a huge amount very quickly and he is surrounded by experienced people," he said.
"He has gained a lot of confidence since Monaco and he is doing a very strong job. He is growing and growing.
"And he is also very self-analytical...."
Horner also confirmed that the team`s improved form in Hungary was welcome, but not due solely to the presence of Red Bull`s technical director Adrian Newey, who appears more rarely at races than in past years after stepping back from the day to day running of the team.
"He is here to stay in touch with the evolution of things and he is still very much involved," said Horner, who confirmed that there was no surprise in revealing that the team`s next development step from engine suppliers Renault was due at the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi in early October.
"That`s the schedule for the way they are doing it," he said.
Horner added that he was not a fan of the current turbo power units in use and would, if he had the power, simplify them, make the cars faster and more challenging to drive - and "more spectacular" - and create "better entertainment for the fans."
Horner said the teams, all with their different agendas and objectives, were gradually reaching a consensus on the reforms needed.
"But that is why it all needs strong leadership," he stressed.
He agreed that it would be ideal if the package was ready for validation by October`s meeting of the FIA`s world motorsport council. "Yes, in an ideal world, yes..."