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Exclusive: Strategy Group would have voted against V6 engines says Ecclestone

NEWS STORY
27/01/2014

Bernie Ecclestone says that Formula One's new V6 engines would have been blocked by the sport's new Strategy Group if it had been in place when the decision to introduce them was made.

The new engines will take to the track for the first time tomorrow at Jerez and it will mark the start of one of the biggest changes to F1's regulations in recent history. Ecclestone has hit out against them since they were first announced in 2011 by the FIA. The focus of his concern was that they will have a different engine note to the previous 2.4 litre V8s. Ecclestone says that the Strategy Group, which came into effect last year, would have put the brakes on this.

"We have this new thing now which is called the Strategy Group. It is good because it will deal with everything except for finance," says Ecclestone adding "what it means is that, firstly we wouldn't have had this silly engine that we have got. We have six votes, the teams have six votes and the FIA has six votes. So if we agree with the teams on something, that will go through. If the FIA agree with us, it will go through. If the FIA agree with the teams on something, it can't hurt us because I don't care about the regulations. So it works."

The new engines were first announced in December 2010 and were originally due to be four-cylinder, 1.6 litre turbocharged units. They faced immediate criticism over fears that they would sound so different to the current engines that fewer fans would visit the races.

F1's distinctive sound is one of its unique selling points and Ecclestone was so concerned about losing it that he <b>revealed</b> to Pitpass that he "may have to sue the FIA". He believed the decision to introduce the new engines breached his contract with the governing body and he wasn't the only one who voiced concerns.

In June 2011 Pitpass also <b>revealed</b> that F1's race organisers had taken the historic step of forming a union - the Formula One Promoters Association - and promptly threatened to switch to America's rival IndyCar series if the engine sound changes in 2014. The following month the FIA improved the specification to the 1.6 litre turbocharged V6s which will be used from this year.

It pacified the promoters but the biggest test is yet to come. F1's fiercest critics are the fans and they will get their first taste of the new engines when they hit the track in Jerez. Early indications are not good.

Last year Renault unleashed on the public an audio sample of its 2014 F1 engine. Since then it has had over 400,000 views with recent comments including the following:

"Sounds like a vacuum cleaner with a gearbox"

"The engine sounds like choking"

"I miss the V8s already!"

"RIP F1"

"I am so angry with the stupid FIA new rules don't they realize they r killing this sport maybe this next season will get very bad reviews they will change it back"

Perhaps the most pertinent comment said "this is a disappointing... hope it sounds better on the track." We will soon find out about that.

In the meantime, today Toro Rosso released this clip of its 2014 contender's first Renault-powered run...

Christian Sylt

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Kismet, 06/02/2014 8:57

"I've largely switched off f1. I read Pitpass to stay in touch but haven't watched a race in over a year. That says it all. "

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2. Posted by ape, 28/01/2014 9:48

"
-YAWN- yesterday papers .... "

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3. Posted by LifelessDead, 28/01/2014 8:16

"In my opinion F1 engine noise has been overrated for more than a decade now (mainly due to over-engeneering and engine freeze).

About two years ago I saw a Vettel/Red Bull demo, followed by the BOSS series. After the RB Renault V8 demo, they started the Benneton B194's 4 liter Ford V8, followed by an older V10, and another and another. Modern V8's don't sound very good compared to those engines.

And to be honest, in Spa a single World Series by Renault 3.5 engine almost sounded better than an RB Renault V8 (although that probably also had to do with the amazing bangs provided at each gear shift).

Catch-22: as long as F1 is "design-by-comity" they'll end up with choices nobody likes, and if the rules would be mandated, everybody would complain that the rules favour somebody else. So nothing changes."

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4. Posted by GoodPublicity, 27/01/2014 21:55

" The teams have no-one to blame but themselves for consenting to this glorified one-make formula.

They could have shown some backbone and forced the FIA to give engine designers the freedom to innovate within a simple dynamic energy consumption formula."

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