Ecclestone Upset By Formula One's Engine Woes Following Pre-Season Testing
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed the sport's new V6 turbo era as "completely unnecessary nonsense" after Renault engine woes sidelined champions Red Bull in preseason testing, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel's team completed just 14 laps in the first three days in Jerez "after recurring problems." Other Renault-powered teams "have also struggled to do much mileage." Ecclestone: "I am disappointed. I hate saying 'I told you so', but I'm disappointed because I did say I told you so and this is what's happened." Ecclestone "has long been an opponent" of the new and highly complex 1.6 liter power units, with energy recovery systems, which have replaced the old V8s. Red Bull Principal Christian Horner said before the start of testing that the new power units "could be so unreliable that half the field may fail to finish in the Australian season-opener in March" (REUTERS, 1/31). Ecclestone: "They talk about saving fuel. They don’t need these new engines to achieve that. They should get smaller motorhomes. Then they wouldn’t need so many trucks going all round Europe. Mercedes are taking 23 trucks with them everywhere. If they really wanted to save fuel they should stop that." He added, "The good thing is that the season could be extremely interesting... really unpredictable, and that is the exciting thing" (PIT PASS, 1/31).
OFF THE PACE: In London, Jonathan McEvoy reported Ecclestone was "responding to the evidence of this week’s first pre-season test in Jerez, where several teams have struggled with the unfamiliar fuel-efficient engines -- which, even when they have run, have proved only a fraction as loud as the old V8s with their banshee scream." As Ecclestone spoke, Red Bull’s top execs were "skulking away in mid-afternoon, unable to do any more testing after they grappled to fit their Renault-supplied power unit into the chassis." Overheating "was the result." F1 "feeds off the image of speed and glamour." The loudest and fastest cars in the world "are part of the allure." But in Jerez, some of the cars "were 11 seconds off the lap record" (DAILY MAIL, 1/30).
BUDGET CAP: AUTOSPORT's Kuntschik & Beer reported Red Bull Owner Dietrich Mateschitz "has expressed concern" over the implications of F1's planned budget cap. The revived cost cap plan "was announced as part of a package of imminent changes at the end of 2013, with the intention being to introduce it next season." Discussions about the exact format of the budget restrictions "are still taking place, but Mateschitz has misgivings about the potential format and how it would be enforced" (AUTOSPORT, 2/2).
AUSTRALIAN GP: KORA reported the current contract for Melbourne to host the Australian Grand Prix "will run out after the 2015 season," but Australian Grand Prix Corp. Chair Ron Walker believes that "it is only a matter of time before a new deal is signed." Walker: "I'm as confident as I can be" (KORA, 2/1).