Tag Archives: Ecclestone

Ecclestone: Engine will be big challenge if Audi enters F1

Bernie Ecclestone says he will be happy to see Audi come into F1, but cautions that the German manufacturer will – like Honda – struggle to catch up with Mercedes.

Audi/VW continues to be linked to either a future co-operation with Red Bull, or the more likely scenario of an eventual takeover and re-branding of the Milton Keynes facility, as recommended by consultant Stefano Domenicali.

“It’s good if any of these manufacturers come in, it will be super,” Ecclestone told this writer. “But it’s difficult for them to come in with the rules that are already there, and a competitor of theirs that’s already been for four or five years with an engine, and then they’re going to come in. It will take them a couple or three years to catch up.”

Asked if he thought Audi would finally make its mind up about F1, he added: “The problem is the engine situation. I believe Honda thought it wasn’t a problem. I told them it would be…”

It’s long be said that Audi has been sitting on the fence because Ferdinand Piech – recently ousted as chairman of the supervisory board of the Volkswagen Group – did not want to deal with Ecclestone. However Bernie insists that wasn’t an issue from his side.

“I don’t have any problem, really. It’s nothing to do with me.”

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Ecclestone believes teams can run “cheap” engines in 2017

Bernie Ecclestone says that F1 engine options for 2017 remain open, despite Toto Wolff stating last weekend that all four current manufacturers want to keep a version of the current V6 for any new 1000bhp rules.

Ecclestone had been talking about a V8/KERS package, and that remains on the table as a cheaper option for struggling teams. There have also been suggestions that a ‘budget’ twin-turbo V6 with KERS could be made available to teams as a possible alternative.

In either case the idea is that these low-cost customer engines would run alongside their works counterparts. In other words we could have something like half the grid using the budget engines (assuming the likes of Williams and Haas stick their regular deals). It brings up the difficult question of how the FIA would ensure some form of parity.

“It depends what we’re going to do,” Ecclestone told this writer. “Toto does a lot of talking, but no action, if you know what I mean. It’s no good talking about, ‘This is what I’d like.’ They are one team.

“I never wanted to go back to V8s, I wanted to set up a single engine to be in F1, which they could run for let’s say 10% of what these manufacturers spend. It would be a different regulation, which would be cheaper. If the manufacturers then decide this would be a good thing, then that’s OK. Or if they want to supply [current] engines at a realistic price to the teams, then good.”

Asked about how two types of engine could compete in parallel he said: “We used to run turbos with normally aspirated engines before. You can do either.”

How the likes of Mercedes or Ferrari would react if they face stiff competition from a good team equipped with a ‘budget’ engine remains to be seen.

Meanwhile the discussions could also be seen as a way of putting pressure on the manufacturers to lower the prices for the current engines. Costs went up considerably in the move from V8s to the hybrid last year, and midfield teams feel that they are funding the R&D of the works operations.

“You never have everybody happy. At the moment they are doing a very good R&D project supporting by the teams that are paying. That engine will never be used in any car or a boat or anything. It was never designed to do that. Just the regulations were put out, the engineers got hold of it, and said this is what they can do. They’ve done a super job, but it has to be cheaper.”

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Bernie Ecclestone: “We are in the entertainment business…”

Bernie Ecclestone has expressed his frustration at being unable to push through his plan to offer teams a low-cost customer chassis package.

In an interview Ecclestone told the Mail on Sunday that he wants to charge teams £15m for a pair of chassis which would use engines supplied by Cosworth or Renault. Ecclestone has been pushing his idea, which has sometimes been described as ‘GP1,’ for some time. However, he says that the teams won’t accept it.

“Some of the other teams are saying, ‘Well, this isn’t Formula One, this would be downgrading Formula One’,” he told the newspaper. “I can’t see that. I’d call these four or five teams that we supplied chassis to the “Team Championship”. They would all be in the Team Championship but they wouldn’t be able to win the Constructors’ Championship.

“But to all intents and purposes, nobody would ever know. The public would never know. It would not alter the way they see the races. It wouldn’t change the spectacle. It would just mean that instead of incurring big losses, these teams would be able to make a profit.

“I have come up with something that could make a difference between the people that don’t have to worry about spending and those that do. But the bigger teams say it’s downgrading. They have been living in a very rich area and they think this would be like living in a poorer neighbourhood. So they don’t want to be associated with it.”

Ecclestone says he’s frustrated by the way teams spend money: “When I ran Brabham in the Seventies, it was on a ‘be reasonable, do it my way’ dictatorship system. We were racers and we found the money to keep ourselves going. There were always the haves and the have-nots and there was always Ferrari with a lot more money.

“Nowadays, there is a big difference. There are teams that spend maybe £500m a season and other people that are trying to work with a £120m budget, which is still too much. The regulations don’t hurt the people that can spend but hurt the people who are trying to put a team together.

“When you consider teams take maybe 120 people to race two cars and spend up to half a billion pounds to be there, it’s not too logical. The Mercedes unit that they take to races and put in the paddock, it takes 24 trucks to carry the parts to assemble it. The FIA believes it keeps the world alive because F1 cars don’t use any fuel. Not true. They use a few per cent less than a normal engine.

“But some teams have 24 trucks to build their motorhomes, which use a lot of fuel. So it is all nonsense. It is all complete hypocrisy, which upsets me. It is complete stupidity. So everyone has got their corner they want to fight for. The FIA want to be green, the teams are split on what they want to do and we want to make sure the championship is successful. We are in the entertainment business.”

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New F1 rules have created a “total farce,” says Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone has done little to reassure fans who harbour doubts about the new F1 rules by branding this week’s testing in Jerez as a “total farce.”

Ecclestone has long made his feelings about the rule change clear, especially with regard to the noise made by the engines.

At the end of last season he told this writer: “I still think what we’ve got now is good, I don’t think there was any need to change it. What concerns me is not so much the TV audience, but the people who come to the races. They love the noise, it’s what they like, because it’s different. So I’m hoping that we won’t lose people coming to the races.”

Having followed progress in Jerez this week the man charged with the job of promoting the sport has been even more vocal.

“Look at the last few days. I said it was going to be like this – a total farce,” he told today’s Daily Mail. “They [the FIA and the teams] insisted on these new engines. If they wanted to race like this they should go to Le Mans.

“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.

“The whole thing with the new engines is totally absurd. People want noise – something special, that’s what F1 is all about – and now we have quiet engines and nobody on the track.”

Ecclestone did at least acknowledge that the form book will be mixed up this year.

“The good thing is that the season could be extremely interesting – really unpredictable, and that is the exciting thing.”

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Ecclestone confirms that Indian GP will skip 2014

Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that there will be no Indian GP in 2014, but he insists that the race will return the following year.

Ecclestone wants to move the race to earlier in the season – in effect freeing up an October slot for the first Russian GP – but has agreed with promoter Jaypee that it would make no sense to have two races in six months.

There have been similar scenarios before after calendar shake-ups, for example with Malaysia being held in October 2000 and March 2001, and China in October 2008 and April 2009, but seemingly that won’t work for India.

“When we signed the five-year deal with Jaypee, we were keen on going to India in the first half and Jaypee wanted it to be in October,” Ecclestone told Indian news agency IANS. “We gave in at that time, but now it looks we will have the race early 2015.

“It was too close [races late 2013 and early 2014]. Therefore, after speaking to promoters, we think it is best not to have a race in 2014 and have one in 2015.”

He added: “We will have to club India with the four rounds in the Asia Pacific region.”

Regarding the tax problems facing the teams, he said: “There are issues that need to be sorted out in your country. I hope the organisers are able to deal with it at the earliest.”

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