Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula 1 puppetmaster, has announced that he thinks the 2014 engine changes should be scrapped.
Unsurprisingly, Ecclestone’s proclamation came after meeting with Ferrari boss, Luca di Montezemolo, at the Maranello factory where the two reviewed Ferrari’s new engine development.
ESPN F1 quotes Ecclestone:
I listened to the noise of the engines in (Ferrari's headquarters at) Maranello the other day, the new engine and the old engine, and even Luca di Montezemolo said it sounded terrible and didn't like it.
Well, if Luca didn’t like it, then something must be done immediately.
The quote goes on to say:
(Todt) will get rid of it. I think Luca is also saying we should suspend it for two or three years. I think it is sensible to get rid of it and stick with what we have got. It is much cheaper than the new one. It probably could be 30% of the price.
For those not paying attention, Todt refers to Jean Todt, FIA President and former General Manager of Scuderia Ferrari.
It’s nice to have someone impartial in a position to make changes. The conspiracy theorists who believe that Ferrari have too much say in F1 will have a field day.
Of course, di Montezemolo isn’t arguing for Ferrari’s sake, he’s worried about the smaller and newer teams for whom the engine changes will be very expensive. ESPN F1 quotes him as saying,
A small team today has to project develop the car from grass, and it's not easy for us so can you imagine for a small team.
The fact that Ferrari would have no use for such an engine in their road cars is completely irrelevant.
It’s a little odd that Ecclestone and di Montezemolo are using the sound of the engines as a rationale for rejecting them.
Those of us who have been following the sport for a while will remember the scream of the V6 turbo cars during the 1980s. It’s certainly a different sound to the current V8, but not so substantially different as to stop people enjoying the sport.
And it’s still loud enough to rattle the fillings in your teeth.
Besides, only three weeks ago, YallaF1 reported that Ecclestone was impressed by the sound of the V6 according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Maybe it was a language thing.
The changes revolve around the move from the current normally aspirated 2.4 litre V8 engines to a 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged powerplant for the 2014 season.
This radical change is actually a compromise position after the teams protested the initial requirement of a four-cylinder engine, which was too small to become an integral part of the car’s chassis the way the current engines are.
Frustratingly, the rule changes—which also include a number of energy recovery systems—are part of a push to make Formula 1 more environmentally sustainable and road relevant.
The question is, why?
If they want to play that game, join the Le Mans series and compete against Peugeot and Audi.
Otherwise, leave the sport alone.