Ecclestone expects F1 engine rules change
SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) — Formula One commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone said he expects to get the required unanimous agreement from teams to change the sport’s “unacceptable” engine rules, despite leading team Mercedes opposing any alteration.
Ferrari and Red Bull have led the charge against the sport’s new fuel limits that restrict usage to 100 kilograms per car per race, with the flow never exceeding more than 100 kilograms per hour. The muted sound of the new 1.6 liter V6 turbo hybrid engines has also attracted criticism.
“They can do something about the noise, and they need another 10 kilos of fuel or something,” Ecclestone said Sunday ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix. “Everybody will agree to that.”
However, Jean Todt, president of the sport’s governing body FIA, said the addition of extra fuel or perhaps reducing race distances would need unanimous support as it would necessitate a change to F1′s sporting regulations. He also said Australia, Bahrain and Canada were expected to be the only races this season in which teams would come close to using up their fuel.
“If everybody will come and say, ‘it will help us to put five more kilos fuel or you reduce Montreal by one lap or two laps,’ I have no problem,” Todt said.
“If we can implement it, with unanimous agreement on how to apply it, we will do it.
“I will have a problem if (only) half the teams are in favor — in that situation I can’t do it.”
Todt was more accepting of the need to inject more sound into the cars to improve the on-track and television spectacle.
“To get passion and to get emotion, you need to have some noise,” Todt said.
“We can see if we can implement — immediately, in the short term and in the long term — a bigger noise.”
Any agreement from Mercedes will be difficult to achieve, as the team has dominated the early part of the 2014 season, and its engine customer teams have also largely outperformed those powered by Ferrari or Renault.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff slammed any attempt to change the rules now the season has started.
“Some engine manufacturers or teams are saying ‘we have not managed to make the car efficient and fast with 100kg (of fuel), so what we are trying to do is let’s add 10kg,’” Wolff said.
“Well, sorry, they didn’t do their job in the way we have done. I find this whole discussion absurd.”
Ecclestone said any change to the rules was not designed to harm Mercedes.
“We can do things without them particularly losing their advantage,” Ecclestone said.
“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.”
Todt had little sympathy for those teams which are urging an overhaul of the engine regulations.
“Those who are in front don’t complain, and those who are not in front do complain — it’s the history of motorsport and the way of life,” Todt said.
“If they are quicker than the others, it’s a challenge for the other teams to catch them.”