New formula kept Mercedes in F1

09/04/2014
NEWS STORY

Mercedes has admitted that it was the change to a 'greener' formula which kept it in Formula One.

According to Professor Dr Thomas Weber, the Daimler board member responsible for research and development, it was the change to a more fuel efficient formula which allowed him to justify the company's continued presence in the sport.

"The key challenge for the future is fuel economy and efficiency and with the change in regulations F1 is the spearhead for development," he told BBC Sport.

The same argument was put forward by Renault, who, when there was resistance within the sport to the sweeping changes, threatened to leave the sport. That said, considering the French manufacturer's current struggles with the new package, and consequent negative publicity, probably wish they had.

Asked if Mercedes would have quit the sport had the new rules not been introduced, Weber replied: "I think so, yeah. Because we had the discussion.

"We had at different times the challenge to discuss F1 with the supervisory board," he admitted. "We had hard discussions. And it was always - even more so when it came to the later years - harder to explain why we were using naturally aspirated engines.

"Now with these new regulations I can clearly convince the supervisory board that the (F1 team) are doing exactly what we need - downsizing, direct injection, lightweight construction, fuel efficiency on the highest possible level, new technologies and combining a combustion engine with an e-motor hybrid."

Rejecting talk that issues such as fuel flow atre too complicated for the fans to understand, he also doesn't feel that the new sound of F1 is an issue.

"We can demonstrate to the public that it is still emotional, even if the noise level is a little bit quieter," he said. "Of course we can look if there is a little bit more possible. But in the meantime all the road cars are going for turbos, downsizing, so even a Porsche now sounds similar. So people learn it. That's easy."

Indeed, echoing Ron Dennis' comments, Weber insists that this is the future and that now, for the first time in many, many years, racing technology will find its way to cars used on the roads every day.

"Never before did we do such a huge step forward in such a small space of time from a V8 naturally aspirated engine to downsizing, turbocharged, all the technologies with one step," he said. "It was the biggest challenge ever."

Chris Balfe

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Published: 09/04/2014
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