Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One chief executive, has revealed that new teams are being put off from entering because of the V6 engines that were introduced last year and have sealed the dominance of Lewis Hamilton.
The Briton comfortably won last year’s championship and goes into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix at the top of the standings with a 53-point lead over his nearest rival, Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The 1.6-litre V6 turbos replaced 2.4-litre V8s and have been widely criticised for lacking the high-pitched scream of their predecessors. Mercedes has mastered them and is reportedly so satisfied with its current engine that it has switched focus to developing the one for next year. Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago with a 25-second advantage over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“The V6 is stopping other people that may want to be in Formula One from actually coming in because they think they have got to take on somebody who is doing a terrific job and try to beat them,” said Ecclestone. He added that the reason Mercedes was doing so well is that its former team director, Ross Brawn, helped to design the engine for F1’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
“The problem is Mercedes actually had a big, big start on anybody else because the guy who was there at that time was Ross Brawn and he was on the FIA working group with this engine, knew all about what the engine was going to be and Mercedes started working on this new engine before anybody knew there was going to be an engine change.”
Earlier this year the FIA launched a tender for a new team to join Formula One but last month ruled that none of the applicants had met the criteria.
Mastering the V6 is proving tough even for those already experienced in Formula One. Honda, which has a history in the sport dating back to 1964, returned this year by supplying engines to McLaren. However, McLaren are currently lagging at the back of the grid.
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