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Ecclestone pushing for return to V8s... or V10s... or anything


In a supposed bid to cut costs, Bernie Ecclestone is to urge F1's Strategy Group to switch back to the 2.4 litre V8 powerplants used until 2013.

Never a fan of the new formula, Ecclestone is still pushing for the return of the units used in recent years, and he's citing cost as the reason. That and Mercedes obvious advantage at present.

"We can all put our money together and have a wager that Mercedes will win the championship next year which is not really the sort of thing we are looking for," he told an invited group of journalists, including Christian Sylt, at his Knightsbridge HQ. "I have been proposing and am going to propose that we go back to a normally aspirated engine with some hybrid bits built into it.

"The manufacturers will have to call it a 'McLaren hybrid', 'Ferrari hybrid' or a 'Williams hybrid' so that it will get across the message," he continued. "They are hybrids now but nobody tells anybody. It's the best-kept secret actually. What this engine is for. What was it designed for and what have we achieved? It is a fantastic bit of engineering.

"People have built these racing engines and anyone that is currently building the engines we currently have, it would be a bit of a dream for them to build a normally aspirated engine and develop it to about 1000 horsepower which is what I believe we want."

Asked if this would drive up the costs, he simply replies "No". Asked if teams would be allowed to use the pre-2014 units he said: "They can do what they like. If you say 'this is the engine, this is the cubic capacity and we want to develop some hybrid thing, something like the KERSs system' it is up to them."

When it is pointed out that it is the new, environmentally aware, formula which kept Renault in the sport, and has encouraged Honda's return, Ecclestone isn't convinced. "I don't know whether that's why they came back to be honest with you," he says. "I really don't know."

He reveals that the matter will be discussed at the next meeting of the Strategy Group on December 18, and claims that a number of teams are in favour.

"Well we have six so if we have four teams want to do that that's ten," he says. "There's 18 votes so that's the majority."

Asked if such a move might drive Mercedes to leave the sport, he replies: "I think they will do that whenever it suits them anyway because we have noticed in the past the manufacturers do that but I would be surprised if they did."

Seeking to bring back the V8s for 2016, he asks the assembled journos if they are happy with the new formula, one replies: "I don't think we can go back. It's an admission of defeat to go back."

"Who has been defeated?" asks Ecclestone

"The sport," comes the response.

Whilst keen to revert to the old power units, indeed anything other than what we have at present, Ecclestone doesn't appear to have fully thought it through, he's even unsure whether the sport should move back to V8s or even V10s. "It's up to them," he says.

Asked if he has consulted Mercedes, since it is the engine manufacturer that has the most to lose, he replies: "I have always thought, and I have been reasonably successful at getting things done, and I have always thought that maybe this would be a bit of an uphill struggle to convince Mercedes and honestly we shouldn't ask them. It would need to be them volunteering."

"So are you going to ask them or not?" he is asked

"What could they say? 'The other people are useless, we are great so we're happy'."

Asked how the FIA will react, Ecclestone admits that Jean Todt is unlikely to be happy. When asked why this might be, he replies: "Because Jean is the one who trumpeted the new engines. He is not going to say let's get rid of them."

It's pointed out that (under Todt) the FIA isn't as influential in the rule-making as it once was.

"Well they sold the rights," reveals Ecclestone. "The Strategy Group that we have got. We made a contribution of $40 million a year to buy that actually.

"So you are saying that they sold the rights to rule-making?" he is asked

"No, they sold the rights to have this new group set up in the way we thought it should be set up. We were really helping out the FIA because it was in deficit and looking to get some money somehow."

Despite all that's gone before, Ecclestone then admits that should the engine manufacturers bring down the price of the current units he might be willing to keep them.

"Absolutely," he says. "Keep what we have got. We have got used to having Formula One with no noise."

Clearly, even after 19 races under the new rules, he's still very unhappy about the sound of F1 2014. Asked if he still dislikes it, he replies: "Yes and all the promoters as well as most of the people that attend the races.

"The trouble is that when this engine was thought up nobody thought about the side effects."


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1. Posted by thrandurne, 14/01/2015 6:08

"v6 engines were a bad move, why not go back to displacement based regulation?"

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2. Posted by karel, 16/12/2014 6:32

"Yes, please bring back the good old v8 and v12 engines and let us race again, ban tyre and fuel regulations and throw the battle field open. Back to good old real F1 racing"

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3. Posted by yeyox, 14/12/2014 0:30

"What a bunch of rubbish and stupid things this elder proposes."

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4. Posted by Martin B, 13/12/2014 22:28

"Once again Bernie clearly demonstrates that he has lost the plot!"

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5. Posted by kdxrider, 13/12/2014 14:53

"I hope to heck he comes to his senses, there's nothing wrong with the engine package. I quite like the growl of the V6 and the turbo whine. And it was nice to see the grand stands where people could actually listen to the engine noise without having to have ear protection and/or hands over their ears because of the racket the screaming engines made.

I wonder how much that influenced the Australian GP being renewed. And I wonder what Honda will do if suddenly it's the engine is switched just after they have returned for one year."

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6. Posted by towrope, 13/12/2014 14:34

"Oh boy! is Bernie suffering from the onset of dementia or what? Flip flop on the double points for last race rule now he wants to flip flop on the engines? What is wrong with this man?
Do us all a favour Bernie and retire gracefully while your reputation remains intact. "

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7. Posted by Spindoctor, 13/12/2014 9:38

Points all taken Unfortunately after too many years of Bernito's single-minded pursuit of personal gain, the "PR" & "Bullshit" is apparently the most important part of the show.

Personally I'm in favour of the new powerplants. Do I believe that my Toyota or Fiat will be using all this technology on the road any time soon? Of course not, but it adds a dimension to a sport which had become totally dominated by aerodynamics, legal or otherwise. This provided an opportunity for teams other than those employing Adrian Newey to win a championship!

Bernie et al are droning[sic] on about the sound of these engines, and of course the cost, as if spending obscene amounts on technology is something new in F1. Aero development is vastly more expensive per 0.1 sec\lap than developing different powerplants. After the first few years the development costs of the motors are largely amortised, but the aero race never ends....."

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8. Posted by SideGlance, 13/12/2014 8:26

"I find it funny that some here mention 'efficiency' about the current flatulent engines when it has never been shown even 'if' they are especially if you consider that the V8's of last year were NOT even able to come close to using the ERS it could have - INefficient is the word.

I did a approx. calculation of the energy harvesting possible in a typ. F1 track and it is in the area of 2 MegaWatts per lap !

I believe 1Megawatt is approx 1000hp, but even if the old V8s were only able to 'use' what the current flatulent engines can harvest and use - they could easily be as INefficient as the current INefficient engines !!

So NOT allowing the full use of all that kenetic energy to be stored and used is - well INefficient !!

For you that have no idea, a turbo (or supercharger) pushes in air that effectively makes it equiv to a larger engine - non turbo engine - 1 bar, take a 1 bar engine and shove 2 bar in and it effectively DOUBLES its air flow - which is ALL that engine displacement is (volumetric airflow)!

Poppet vale Engines are essentially nothing more that air pumps, and if you burn all the fuel/air you shove in then whether it is via turbo/supercharge or displacement it is effectively the same - minus of course the losses of wasted heat, friction, incomplete burn, etc.

So really stop using the 'efficiency' bullshit argument, it has never been shown or proven, F1 is racing & NEVER NEVER NEVER anything close to 'efficient' use of energy ! Absurd argument !!

F1 is sport, NOT a tech dev lab, smart engine makers do NOT use racing for tech pushes, it is generally ALL about PR - BS the stupid buyer in thinking their street car is special due to - they race in F1 so they MUST be better and special - NON-sense !!

Morons buy things too ! Rich Morons buy expensive things ! Still MORONS !"

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9. Posted by bfairey, 13/12/2014 4:21

"That guy is a nut case, but I have a great idea bring back the Climax V8 just like the NASCAR guys who run a 1950's designed V8."

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10. Posted by petes, 13/12/2014 3:41

"Sooner CVC fcuk this poisonous ba$tard off, the better."

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11. Posted by Sir James, 13/12/2014 1:42

"Ecclestone is a Fossil Fool and should be gone. "

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12. Posted by Mr wickel, 13/12/2014 0:56

"Seriously this is so funny. This talk is all about bringing back the old engines for Bernie's last hurrah. The old man is soon to depart this beautiful planet and he doesn't give a hoot about the future of motor racing or the will-being of humanity.
Bringing back the dinosaur engines of the 20th century to F1 will just increase the likelihood of F1 dying off with a louder bang. F1 just needs to whack a big subwoofer to each F1 car and play some very loud DOOF DOOF music during the race. That way they target their market audience and get the noise they crave.
Smell the oily fumes guys. Fossil fuels are gone. "

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13. Posted by nealio, 12/12/2014 21:36

"Bernie's word-play on the nature of what the FIA sold him the rights to is fascinating. His description of the Todt led FIA as a destitute old beggar coming round with it's cup out is beyond amusing as it may well resemble the truth of the matter."

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14. Posted by nealio, 12/12/2014 21:19

"So when Mr. Todt shrugs and says "what can we do?" He's really thinking how he will spend the 40 million he traded away the FIA's rights for. I believe the sods who run the FIA really haven't valued Formula One very highly for quite a long time. Bernie continues to make fools of them all."

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15. Posted by Spindoctor, 12/12/2014 16:25

"I'm all in favour of some kind of "Formula Libre", but with strong limits on things like aero, ground clearance & fuel capacity. If (say) Ferrari wanted to throw in the towel, let's see them build an economical, powerful turbo or NA v8\10\12 that goes better than the current "powerplant".

A pipe-dream of course given the super-specialised nature of every aspect of today's F1. Pirelli can't be expected to develop a tyre for each car, which is probably what would be needed with significantly different weights, downforce, torque etc."

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