Australian Grand Prix promoter Ron Walker says other races are likely to walk away from F1 as a result of the “disgrace” that is the sound of the new engines.
The new F1 season kicked off in Australia a little over a week ago, with the 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines being heard in a race situation for the first time. While the new power units are much quieter than their predecessors – the high-pitched V8s – they also deliver a number of new sounds. However, Walker – who is also the chairman of the Formula One Promoters' Association – believes the new engine sound “is a disgrace” which will force promoters to look to other series in order to keep fans happy.
“The sound is a disgrace,” Walker told The Independent
. “When the car comes down the straight you can't even hear it. Now you have got every promoter worried that it's going to turn fans away. You will find promoters dropping out. They will go and get an IndyCar race or something like that to keep the fans.”
Walker also warned that Bernie Ecclestone could himself face a backlash from the race promoters, saying: “There will be a meeting of all of the promoters and you will find that an enormous voice will come out of that... to say 'Bernie, enough is enough. This is not what we bought.'”
However, despite the threat to Ecclestone, Walker made clear that he blames FIA president Jean Todt for what he believes is a move that “will ruin the sport that Bernie built” as negotiations over a new Australian Grand Prix deal continue.
“We haven't signed a new contract with Bernie, so this is going to put a lot of pressure on the FIA. It doesn't have the right to destroy this sport. It will ruin the sport that Bernie built over this. Out of any single problem, this is the one that will kill the golden goose. It is hard enough to sell tickets now but this is arrogance at the worst from Jean Todt.”
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