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Walker predicts mass revolt over noise 'disgrace'

ESPN Staff
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Ron Walker believes Bernie Ecclestone will have a job on his hands keeping races in F1 © Sutton Images

Australian Grand Prix chief Ron Walker has continued his crusade against the sound of F1's new turbo era, insisting promoters are likely to walk away from the sport in protest.

As one of the most vocal critics of the sound of the 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines, Walker said after the Australian Grand Prix that the muted noise was "not what we paid for". Walker is also head of the Formula One Promoters' Association and believes Bernie Ecclestone, who himself has been a critic of the new engines, will have a job on his hands keeping existing races on the calendar unless something is done about the noise.

"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. 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.'"

Walker is also convinced the threat of legal action is a legitimate one.

"We can't just sit back and wait. There's a strong wind blowing here. Legal action would not be very difficult. Bernie is clearly in breach of his contract because this is not what we bought. I didn't buy a wimp. Originally, I bought a giant with noise. Bernie even suggested in a meeting a few years ago in Geneva the promoter would have the right to sue him."

Walker is stepping down from his role of head of the Australian Grand Prix next year, when the current deal expires. He hinted Albert Park could be the first victim of the revolt, which he says would be a direct consequence of the policies of FIA president Jean Todt.

"We haven't signed a new contract with Bernie, so this is going to put a lot of pressure on the FIA," he said. "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."