By Adam Cooper, Crain News Service
DETROIT (Feb. 7, 2014) — Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone called last week’s initial testing of the new breed of F1 cars in Jerez, Spain, a “total farce.”
Mr. Ecclestone has long made his feelings about the rule changes clear, especially with regard to the noise made by the new 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engines.
At the end of last season he told Autoweek magazine, a sister publication of Tire Business: “I still think what we’ve got now is good, I don’t think there was any need to change it.
“What concerns me is not so much the TV audience, but the people who come to the races. They love the noise, it’s what they like, because it’s different. So I’m hoping that we won’t lose people coming to the races.”
Having kept track of progress in Jerez last week, the man charged with the job of promoting the sport has been even more vocal.
“Look at the last few days. I said it was going to be like this—a total farce,” Mr. Ecclestone told the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “They [the FIA and the teams] insisted on these new engines. If they wanted to race like this, they should go to Le Mans.
“They talk about saving fuel. They don’t need these new engines to achieve that. They should get smaller motorhomes. Then they wouldn’t need so many trucks going all round Europe. Mercedes are taking 23 trucks with them everywhere. If they really wanted to save fuel they should stop that.
“The whole thing with the new engines is totally absurd. People want noise—something special, that’s what F1 is all about—and now we have quiet engines and nobody on the track.”
Mr. Ecclestone did at least acknowledge that the order on the grid looks to be in for a considerable shakeup.
“The good thing is that the season could be extremely interesting—really unpredictable, and that is the exciting thing,” he said.
This report appeared on the website of Detroit-based Autoweek.