F1: Three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart believes change to 'greener' engines is a step in the right direction

The Scot feels the sport needs to 'demonstrate our technology is ecologically sound' with switch to 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged engines

Sir Jackie Stewart believes Formula One is taking a step in the right direction with its green approach for this year despite the large costs involved.

Gone are the normally-aspirated 2.4-litre V8 engines, to be replaced by 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged powertrains that will be allowed to use a maximum of 140 litres of fuel per race compared to the previous 210.

But for F1 to become leaner and far more relevant to today's road-car technology, the teams are paying a heavy price as the new units cost multi-millions of pounds over the course of a year.

Despite that, three-times world champion Stewart said: "It's the right direction.

"We have to demonstrate our technology is ecologically sound and we are moving forward.

"We are going to be using significantly less fuel this year, which is a big statement to make to those people who say the sport is not environmentally friendly.

"One of the reasons (tyre supplier) Bridgestone left was because F1 was not doing enough to become a green sport, and we can't afford too many companies like that leaving."

Stewart, though, feels motor sport's world governing body, the FIA, should have delayed the introduction of the new technology until 2016 to allow the teams more time to find the funds required.

"If I'd had my way I wouldn't have introduced the new formula for another two years because of the cost and the fact the world economy has yet to stabilise," added Stewart.

"In another couple of years I think the sport would be better prepared and able to find the amounts of money required without going into dangerous times.

"I spoke to the president of the FIA (Jean Todt) in India in 2012 about it, but he had made up his mind, had made a commitment that we had to do this.

"Now whether the players themselves would have kept the costs down is another question because as a sport we know how to spend money better than any other."

One of the prime examples is Lotus who find themselves in financial difficulty ahead of the new campaign.

Last season the Enstone-based marque failed to pay Kimi Raikkonen his salary due to their problems, in particular after failed negotiations with a potential new backer in the form of an overseas consortium.

At present Lotus do not have a new engine deal in place with Renault for the forthcoming campaign, nor a title sponsor, whilst they appear likely to be the only team to miss the first test in Jerez later this month.

Stewart, previously a global ambassador for current Lotus owners Genii Capital but whose contract has not been renewed for this season, is convinced they will survive.

Stewart said: "Kimi will get his money. It's my belief - and this is a personal thing - they are men of honour and they will pay the debt.

"As for the team themselves, I will be very surprised if they are not on the grid. Solutions will be found. I don't think we'll see any bankruptcies."

 

PA

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