Australian Grand Prix: Bernie Ecclestone 'horrified' at quiet new F1 cars, with Melbourne organisers claiming lack of sound is 'breach of contract'

The season opening race was entertaining, but much quieter than previous races

Australian Grand Prix chief Ron Walker has described Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone as being “horrified” at the sport's new quieter era - which could lead to a legal challenge.

Although the arrival of the new 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged power units produced an entertaining season-opening race at Melbourne's Albert Park on Sunday, the noise level failed to impress.

The screaming sound of the old V8 engine has gone, and in its place is a huskier decibel level, complete with whistles and whirrs from the turbo.

It is a sound Ecclestone knew long ago would not be right for F1, even before the first car hit the track in testing in January.

Now Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) chairman Walker, a close friend of Ecclestone, has made his feelings plain to the 83-year-old, to such an extent he is checking the small print in the contracts between the two to see what recourse he may have.

"I was absolutely delighted with the whole weekend, but I was not too happy with the sound," said Walker, speaking to Melbourne newspaper The Age.

"We are resolving that with Bernie. It's clearly in breach of our contract. I was talking to him last night (Sunday) and it's not what we paid for. It's going to change.

"He's horrified about it. It will be an issue for all promoters all round the world.

"I walk in the botanical gardens and you could hear the sound of the twin-seater F1 car of Paul Stoddart's sweeping around the circuit, but you couldn't hear these new turbo cars.

"If you sat in the grandstand you could hardly hear them coming down the straight.

"We (the Grand Prix Corporation) are an entertainment company and we have to entertain the public.

"Everybody was talking about it. When you take the excitement away, you have trouble selling tickets.

"You have to create demand, and part of that demand is people liking the noise of the race cars."

The current contract for the race expires after next year's event, with the Victoria state government, who pays for it, yet to sign an extension, although there is one in the pipeline.

Despite that, AGPC CEO Andrew Westacott expressed his own misgivings about the lack of noise, as outlined by Walker.

"One aspect of it was just a little bit duller than it's ever been before and that's part of the mix and the chemistry they're going to have to get right," Westacott told Australia's Fairfax Radio.

"Ron spoke to Ecclestone after the race and said the fans don't like it in the venue.

"We pay for a product, we've got contracts in place, we are looking at those very, very seriously because we reckon there has probably been some breaches."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower