F1: Bernie Ecclestone vows to change 'unacceptable' state of Formula 1 to improve spectacle for fans
Ecclestone is considering a 10kg increase in fuel to allow all teams to run flat out throughout races rather than the 'economical runs' of the opening Grand Prix's
Sunday 06 April 2014
Bernie Ecclestone believes the current state of Formula One is “unacceptable” to the sport's fans and has vowed to make changes.
Ecclestone has this week held talks with FIA president Jean Todt and Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo in light of the criticism the sport has received following the new regulations changes.
Di Montezemolo, in particular, has voiced his concerns, bemoaning the lack of noise from the new power units, while describing F1 at present as being akin to taxi driving, with drivers fuel saving and coasting rather than going flat out.
Many have interpreted Di Montezemolo's comments as nothing more than sour grapes given Mercedes' early-season dominance and his own team's failure to return to the front.
Ecclestone insists plans are in the pipeline to raise the decibel level of the current 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged power units, which are far quieter than their old V8 counterparts.
The 83-year-old has also suggested teams will likely be given an extra 10kg of fuel to ensure they can run flat out.
At present each car is allowed no more than 100kg of fuel as part of the sport's bid to become more environmentally friendly, a saving of a third on previous seasons.
However, Mercedes, and their trio of customers - McLaren, Williams and Force India - have been comfortably able to manage with less than 100kg in the two races so far in Australia and Malaysia due to the efficiency of the engines.
It is Ferrari and Renault - the latter a supplier to reigning four-time champions Red Bull - who have struggled with economy.
Asked as to F1's current problems on a visit to the Bahrain paddock ahead of Sunday's grand prix, Ecclestone said: "The trouble is you have one thing and then people add things.
"It all started because of the lack of noise, not the type of noise we are used to in Formula One, and now people are looking and saying 'it's an economy run', and we go on from there.
"So we have to do something, for sure. I don't think the way things are at the moment are acceptable to the public.
"People buying tickets are expecting to see what Formula One used to be, and as I've mentioned before, I've had letters from promoters.
"They're all worried if they lose spectators then they are going to be in trouble.
"What is important is that the teams know the problem, the engine manufacturers know the problem, and they're trying to sort it.
"They can do something about the noise, and they need another 10 kilos of fuel or something. I think everybody will agree to that."
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff on Saturday said the suggestion that changes might be made to the sport this season were "absurd".
Wolff also claimed an agenda was being set, one he was at a loss to understand because the negative publicity was harming the sport.
But asked whether Mercedes would accept the changes, Ecclestone said: "Everybody is complaining, even Mercedes.
"They don't like people being unhappy, so they're going to be behind it. They'll be the leaders.
"We can do things without them particularly losing their advantage.
"Without any doubt they have done a better job and they shouldn't be punished for that. We shouldn't change the regulations to punish them.
"But let's see what happens when they all really start racing."
Ecclestone has long decried the new power units, believing they do not belong in F1, even though they have been fundamentally necessary.
Renault suggested they would walk away if changes were not made, while Honda are to return next year on the back of the introduction of the hybrid unit.
Despite that, Ecclestone said: "The engines, without any doubt, are incredible, with the amount of power they produce from such a small amount of fuel.
"But I don't think that's Formula One business. They should do it in touring cars or something, but not in Formula One."
Di Montezemolo, meanwhile, believes the proposals on the table with regard to the increase in engine noise and additional fuel are fine for the short term.
Speaking in the paddock at the Bahrain International Circuit, and with the scream of the GP2 cars in the background to remind him of what F1 used to be like, Di Montezemolo said: "We want to increase the value, the passion, the success of Formula One.
"Formula One is our life, so we have to look ahead, sharing with the other teams a good solution.
"We have to give back to Formula One its characteristics. We cannot have an economy formula. It has to be extreme, with racing from the first lap to the last.
"Formula One is also about the engine music - not noise - and we also have to make sure it is not too complicated with regard to the rules.
"For the people in the grandstands, how can they understand what is going on with this fuel-flow meter (that led to Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification in Australia)?
"So it's important we share ideas together to improve the situation because I don't want to think of the big possibility of Formula One's decline because if we look at it today we have a race that is no longer Formula One."
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