FIA president Jean Todt does not think Formula One is in need of a major overhaul, saying the sport is suffering from a "headache" not a "cancer".
Discontent has bubbled to the surface within some quarters of the sport this season following a decline in TV viewing figures in recent years and the domination of Mercedes under the current engine regulations. Plans for a tweaked set of regulations in 2017 are being thrashed out by F1's Strategy Group - made up of representatives from the FIA, FOM and the top six teams - with a meeting scheduled for July 1 to attempt to finalise a proposal.
Despite a weekend of growing dissent towards F1's current regulations at the Austrian Grand Prix, Todt does not agree the sport is facing a crisis, arguing that it needs to focus on a measured "prescription" rather than attempt a rules revolution.
"I don't think we are facing a cancer, we are facing a headache, so we need to find a prescription for the headache," Todt told a small group of journalists, including ESPN, in Paris. "I disagree that we have to cure a cancer. In a way, the headache is on the way to being cured.
"We don't need big changes. I don't think F1 needs big changes. And if it would need big changes, then honestly I need to have some input. I need to know where it [the problem] is, because I don't know where it is.
"So if you present me a patient and he tells me he has a headache, and I give him a prescription for cancer, then I cannot!"
Red Bull made a concerted effort to flag its concerns about the sport at its home race in Austria last weekend, with team principal Christian Horner calling for a restructuring of governance whereby the Strategy Group would cede power to the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone. Todt challenged the teams to follow through on the idea, but believes such a move would only fuel more in-fighting within F1's ranks.
"They are making a big story about the Strategy Group. I have read quite often that it should be FIA or FOM to decide [the rules]. Again, I am quite happy to sit with Bernie and to decide what could be good for the sport, but again we need to be sure that it is good for the sport.
"Believe me, those who claim that they should not be involved and that it should be FIA and the commercial rights holder to decide, they will be the first to shout and saying 'They are not following the right governance [procedures]. They did not consult us'.
"So there is a way to do that. If they keep saying that it should be us to decide, then I should ask for an official mandate. I will have that in writing. So okay, if they want it, give us an official mandate and then we will see how they react. It is a lot of talking. Myself, I don't say it is good or bad, but I am not a big talker. Normally, I prefer to act and do things."
The Strategy Group's proposals for 2017 aim to make cars five to six seconds faster by making them more powerful, lighter and tweaking the aerodynamic regulations. Todt is open to boosting power by increasing the fuel allocation, but warned that teams and drivers would always find fault with the regulations if they are not winning.
"In 1993 we had the problem with brakes we had the problem with tyre wear and we had the problem of being careful with the fuel. So It's not something which has just come in, but does it mean we should not consider it. If the answer was let's give 5kg more of fuel, I don't have any problem. But at the moment if you have some bitter drivers and you ask them if they are happy, they will say no. That is the truth. If you have a sincere discussion about why is that guy not happy it's because he's not winning.
"If you ask [Lewis] Hamilton if he's happy right now [after finishing second in Austria], he will not be happy. If you ask [Nico] Rosberg if he's happy[ after winning in Austria], he will be very happy. And vice versa at the previous race. But again, it is a fact of life, you are happy if you have success and you are not happy if you don't have success. Then we have the way of communicating and the way of hiding.
"Then people say, 'Yes, but it's boring to have Mercedes [winning all the time]'. I agree, as a sport enthusiast I would love to have a kind of undefined starting grid. But if you are the best, if you do a better job ... I mean Red Bull and Vettel, were they annoyed about the domination? I remember a few years ago - I think in Singapore - I was shocked because I think he was 1.5s faster than the second best. Then before that it was Ferrari domination, and I remember I joined Ferrari and thought 'where is Ferrari going to be'. A few years after, people are saying 'We are so fed up, we don't watch TV now because we know the result before the start of the race'.
"So the prescription would be to have as many competitive teams as possible, and to have from one race to another a different particular winner. If you take all the other sport, I mean football I'm no expert but I think Bayern Munich were winning the last ten championships. Now in France PSG are winning. In the UK it's changed a little more but it's always between two or three teams. In golf you had Tiger Woods, now you have a new American guy [Jordan Speith] at 21 coming up. Rafael Nadal won nine times in a row at Roland Garros. You take Novak Djokovic, he's almost unbeatable. Usain Bolt, for a couple of years he has not lost the 100metres. So that's a fact in sport, and if you want to beat them you must be better. So I simply hope - and with all the respect I have for Mercedes - that somebody gets better."