Mercedes could have quit F1 if the switch to turbo power had not happened, according to a Daimler board member.

The new power units have come under criticism from the likes of Luca di Montezemolo and Adrian Newey, while Bernie Ecclestone said in Bahrain that "They should be I touring cars or something, but not in Formula One." However, Professor Dr Thomas Weber - Daimler's head of research Mercedes-Benz car development - said F1 was much more relevant to Mercedes with the new engines.

"The key challenge for the future is fuel economy and efficiency and with the change in regulations F1 is the spearhead for development," Weber told BBC Sport.

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Asked if Mercedes could have quit if the new regulations were not approved in 2009, he replied: "I think so, yeah, because we had the discussion.

"We had at different times the challenge to discuss F1 with the (Daimler) supervisory board. We had hard discussions. And it was always - and even more so when it came to the later years - harder to explain why we were using naturally aspirated engines.

"Now with these new regulations I can clearly convince the supervisory board that the (F1 team) are doing exactly what we need - downsizing, direct injection, lightweight construction, fuel efficiency on the highest possible level, new technologies and combining a combustion engine with an e-motor hybrid."