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Whitmarsh happy with engine agreement

NEWS STORY
23/06/2011

In the wake of the F1 Commission's agreement on a new 1.6 litre V6 turbo formula for 2014, McLaren boss and FOTA chairman, Martin Whitmarsh, admits to being happy with the decision.

Ahead of the meeting there were fears as to whether a decision would - or could - be agreed by the manufacturers, especially at a time when Renault was threatening to walk away from the sport.

However, other than receiving the official rubber stamp from the World Motor Sport Council, it appears that the newly agreed formula will be introduced in 2014.

"I'm happy that we have agreement between the manufacturers," said Whitmarsh during the latest Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "They have all agreed and endorsed this, which is extremely positive, the teams have agreed it and it was agreed overwhelmingly within the F1 Commission yesterday, so I think that's positive because, clearly, there's been a range of different opinions expressed and felt so to achieve a consensus amongst all the parties, I think, was very positive."

As well as making the sport more environmentally friendly and giving green issues an image boost, it is hoped the new formula will bring in new manufacturers.

"In the long run we should make sure we are attractive to a range of automotive manufacturers," said Whitmarsh. "They will, according to their marketing needs and priorities, come in and out of Formula One periodically, which is what has happened over the history of Formula One.

"The world's gone through an economic crisis, the automotive industry has had the largest recession in its entire history. And I think our timing was perhaps a little bit premature and perhaps it was a little bit too condensed. So I think the right thing to do is to ensure that you keep what you've got which I think we have been able to do with this agreement. I hope, in the future, for the sake of Formula One, that new manufacturers find the regulations relevant, interesting and stimulating, and consequently at some time in the future come in to Formula One."

However, as the Woking company opens a London showroom for its MP4-12C road car, which features a McLaren engine, Whitmarsh dismissed the idea of the team building its own powerplants.

"There isn't any temptation to do so," he said. "Formula 1 is an incredibly powerful marketing opportunity and it's an area that automotive companies have seen as being beneficial for brand exposure and brand differentiation.

"But the cost of Formula 1 is such that you need to amortise that over millions or cars per annum, not thousands. McLaren's maximum planned output - certainly for the foreseeable future - is no greater than 4,500 units per year. So it really doesn't make sense to use a marketing tool like Formula 1 for the engine."

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