8 April 2016
Engine change 'slowly destroying F1', says Ecclestone
"Honda would have come in whatever the engine was, so that was a massive mistake," F1 ringmaster says of decision to force through V6 Hybrid formula.
Bernie Ecclestone has continued to rage against the latest F1 engine specification, insisting that the failure to consult those involved before its introduction was gradually dragging the sport into the mire.
An opponent of the V6 turbo regulations since they were announced, Ecclestone again turned his wrath upon the current formulae after the Bahrain Grand Prix amid speculation that certain teams were again facing financial difficulty, in part, due to the cost of switching to the hybrid formula.
The current 1.6-litre engines include energy recovery systems and fuel flow restrictions in a bid to make F1 appear more environmentally aware, but raised the cost of purchase considerably over the previous 2.4-litre normally-aspirated V8s, which were proving popular with teams, drivers and fans alike.
Having already railed that the current generation of power units did not deliver in terms of performance, noise or cost, Ecclestone recently proposed the introduction of a more cost-effective twin turbo V6 'customer' engine for the start of 2017 - a move also seen as an attempt to quell the supposed duopoly currently enjoyed by Mercedes and Ferrari. Despite the support of FIA president Jean Todt, Ecclestone ultimately lacked the support he needed to influence the engine market, but the Briton insists that something needs to happen to ensure the future of F1.
“Firstly, this was Max [Mosley] who decided that we would have smaller engines and more manufacturers," he said during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, "I said maybe what we ought to do is ask the manufacturers if they will come in if we had smaller engines, [rather] than have the smaller engines and hope that they come in - because they haven't come in.
“I think, at the time when Max came up with this idea, nobody knew what the engine was going to be. It wasn't conceived to be what it is now. It was going to be a much simpler engine. That was the idea. Developing about 700 horsepower.”
Intriguingly, Ecclestone suggested that the one manufacturer to enter the support since the advent of the V6 turbo era, probably would have returned to the fold whatever engine formula was in place and hadn't been enticed back by the change, which took effect from the 2014 season.
"Honda would have come in whatever the engine was, so that was a massive mistake," he said of the decision to force through the V6 turbo regulations, "The minute it started to be produced, it was bloody obvious it was going to be expensive.
"This is what upsets me... We talk about the fans, but I don't know whether they supported this engine - I think they didn't. I think you guys [in the media] came out clearly and said that nobody wanted this, but we've got it and this is really, really, really the thing that is slowly destroying F1.”
Ironically, there are those in the sport currently wishing for a authoritative figurehead similar to Mosley in order to steer the sport through choppy waters as it attempts to recover from a misguided foray into an alternative qualifying format and formulate the next set of regulations, which are supposedly set for introduction next season but have yet to see a consensus reached by those involved in their creation.
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