I’m late to this story but I did read it yesterday and saw James Allen’s commentary with Marussia team president Graeme Lowden this evening. What prompted the conversation, besides James being a very diligent bloke, is the comment the Hindustan Times ran quoting Bernie Ecclestone as saying:
“I listened to the noise of the engines in (Ferrari’s headquarters at) Maranello the other day, the new engine and the old engine, and even (Ferrari chairman) Luca di Montezemolo said it sounded terrible and didn’t like it,” says Ecclestone. He feels FIA president, Jean Todt, “will get rid of it. I think Luca is also saying we should suspend it for two or three years. I think it is sensible to get rid of it and stick with what we have got. It is much cheaper than the new one. It probably could be 30% of the price.”
One might think that this is odd as Ecclestone is the head of F1 and if he doesn’t want to engine, why have it? The fact is that the FIA are the regulatory body and they’ve made this mandate for V6 turbo engines and are looking at 2014 for deployment. The humorous comment from Ecclestone is directly pointed at former FIA president Max Mosley who concocted this new engine idea prior to leaving office when Jean Todt was elected as the new president.
“I blame the FIA for this stupid engine formula,” says Ecclestone. “It really wasn’t his (Todt’s) fault, (former FIA president Max) Mosley started the engine and then he got carried away… Todt really hasn’t interfered with us. He has been travelling the world and seeing all the different federations but he hasn’t bothered us.”
Now this is interesting from a couple points. First, he is clearly throwing Max to the wolves on this and taking the high road by suggesting Todt isn’t to blame. Let’s be honest, if Todt didn’t want the new engines format, he could have killed it last year or the year before. The other thing to consider is Ecclestone’s comment that Todt hasn’t bothered them. He’s been too busy hobnobbing. Now that’s priceless Ecclestone! It’s a slight but also an implication to Todt to stay out of their way (at least that’s my opinion).
but what are the factors in a new engine format? We’ve argued for months that this is not the way to make Formula One less expensive. In fact, we’ve argued that it is quite the opposite. We feel that developing an all-new engine will be detrimental to small teams and very expensive for big teams. James Allen seems to have uncovered that very notion in his interview with Lowden:
“Introducing any new step is good for a sport – you need to be innovative, you need to be relevant, that’s absolutely for sure. But it has to be done with sustainability at the heart of it.
“We’re all running businesses, we have responsibilities to our employees and there’s an awful lot of investment, time, effort and devotion that goes in from a lot of people. We owe it to those people to ensure that this sport is sustainable and has a long and bright future.”
What do you think? Should F1 can the new engine idea? Keep in mind that two years ago, the FIA (even Todt) was making sustainability their big mantra. In fact, road safety and mobility seemed almost an afterthought to the FIA in their press communication which boasted of new sustainable measures in F1 such as new engines and KERS. I’m not slating sustainability but the FIA clearly feel this new engine is better for F1’s eco-friendly image. Or is it something more?
We’ve also argued that the new engine format is really just bait for the hook when fishing for manufacturers to return to the sport. Mosely had all but urinated on them and BMW, Honda and Toyota left the sport leaving a huge festering wound. A V6 turbo may play more directly into the road car development and technology for car makers and this may lure them back…or so goes the argument.
If it threatens a teams survival, then I am not sure it’s the right way to go. If it threatens fan’s sonic sensibility and aural attachment to the sport, then I am not sure it’s a good idea. Would the current V8 lure car makers to the sport? Would a V6 turbo? Should F1 focus on cost-cutting and leave the sustainability to Formula E? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.