Ecclestone declares war on the lack of noise
Bernie Ecclestone has said Formula One will investigate ways of making the new machines sound "more like racing cars" as a matter of urgency.
Ecclestone has been against some of the swathe of rule changes, which have helped to make the car engines considerably quieter, and he found allies after the opening weekend of the season. In the aftermath of the Australian Grand Prix, organisers made clear their view that quieter cars equates to a less sexy sport.
The sound of confusion
- It was clear from our feedback during live sessions that the sound of the new engines does not transmit well on the TV. Comparisons with lawnmowers were common, while one commenter asked whether the new engines are "powered by farts". Formula One's volume has been turned down dramatically over the winter - a point pushed home at the track by the V8 Red Bull demonstration car performing runs between sessions. But until you've heard the engines from trackside it's worth reserving judgement.
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That in itself might not have mattered had they not also hinted they might sue as well, saying the product was "not what we paid for" and said it would be an issue "for all promoters all round the world".
That gave Ecclestone the ammunition he needed. "I was not horrified by the noise," he said. "I was horrified by the lack of it. Ron [Walker, the chief of the Australian Grand Prix] is right with regards to their contract. And I was sorry to be proved right with what I've said all along; these cars don't sound like racing cars. I've been speaking with Jean [Todt, president of the FIA] this afternoon and what I've said is that we need to see whether there is some way of making them sound like racing cars.
"I don't know whether it's possible but we should investigate. I think let's get the first few races out of the way and then maybe look to do something. We can't wait all season. It could be too late by then."
Ecclestone said that other promoters had been in touch to express their concerns. "I spoke to [Ferrari president] Luca di Montezemolo just now and Luca said he's never had as many emails complaining and saying this isn't Formula One."