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SBD Global/March 31, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Red Bull Team Owner Dietrich Mateschitz Expresses F1 Dissatisfaction

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone will not be surprised if Red Bull Team Owner Dietrich Mateschitz "carries out his threat to quit the sport," according to Ian Parkes of the PA. Mateschitz "has expressed his dissatisfaction with the way F1 appears to be going" following the fuel-flow row in Australia that resulted in Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo being disqualified and the raft of new technical rules. Money is not the issue, "it is more about fairness and politics in the sport." Mateschitz claimed there is "a clear line of acceptance from our side regarding this," but stopped short of suggesting the Court of Appeal case against Ricciardo's exclusion had crossed that line. With the introduction of the 1.6-liter V6 turbo-charged power units, "the cars have become slower and far less noisy, tarnishing the sport's appeal in the view of some observers." Mateschitz said, “Formula One should again be what it always has been -- the ultimate discipline. It is not there to set new records in fuel consumption, or so you can talk at a whisper during a race and the greatest thrill is the squealing of the tires" (PA, 3/30). In London, Mark Hughes wrote negative comments made by the world champion, Sebastian Vettel, about the noise of the new hybrid F1 engines "have gone down badly with the sport’s governing body, the FIA." His comments "may have been ill-advised," given that his Red Bull team is appealing against its disqualification from second place in the Australian Grand Prix. Red Bull is scheduled to appear before the FIA appeal court on April 14 to argue that it did not break the fuel flow limit with Ricciardo's car. The FIA arranged a press conference in Malaysia "to explain the technicalities behind the subject and to state why the fuel flow regulations were, in their view, quite clear." Threatening to punish Vettel for his negative comments "could conceivably be used as leverage" by the FIA to convince his team to withdraw its appeal (SUNDAY TIMES, 3/30).

: Ecclestone admitted that "he was too critical of the sound produced by the new engines introduced this year." The 83-year-old said after the season opener in Australia two weeks ago that he was "horrified" by the quieter sound. But after hearing them at a track for the first time in Malaysia, he admitted they were "better than I thought." He said that "he had been told by the teams the engines could not be made louder." Ecclestone: "You'll have to ask the engineers. I've asked them and they've said no" (BBC, 3/28). PLANET F1 reported Niki Lauda hit out at all those criticizing the new sound of F1, saying that if it is not loud enough "turn up the TV." Lauda: "From Day One they have all been saying that the noise of the new Formula One is rubbish, and it was Bernie who started it all. I just don't understand it. I just had this meeting with Bernie where he told us all his problems, how no organizers want to continue with F1. But who are they? Only the guy from Australia who runs their race, Ron Walker. He's upset that he has to pay so much money to get the race there. He uses any excuse, and now says the lack of noise destroys his business" (PLANET F1, 3/30).
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