A commotion about Formula One’s new quieter cars could hit the sport’s revenues and lead to teams getting less money if promoters take legal action, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker said after Sunday’s season-opener that he was not happy with the reduced decibels and Formula One was “clearly in breach of contract”.
“It’s not what we paid for. It’s going to change,” Walker told the Melbourne Age newspaper, adding that he had spoken to a ‘horrified’ Ecclestone about it.
“It will be an issue for promoters all around the world.”
Ecclestone told Reuters in a telephone interview that Walker was “probably going a bit over the top with what he’s saying” but added that the Australian was not alone in his concern.
“I’ve had one or two promoters get in touch with me today and they said how unhappy they are,” said the 83-year-old billionaire.
“I spoke to (Ferrari president) Luca di Montezemolo just now and Luca said he’s never had as many emails on his desk complaining and saying this isn’t Formula One.”
Formula One ditched the old and raucous 2.4 litre V8 engines at the end of last season and replaced them with less fuel-thirsty and more muted 1.6 litre V6 turbo power units with expensive and complicated energy recovery systems.
Ecclestone has long been a critic of the change and has warned repeatedly that the sport risked losing a key ingredient for the paying public by turning down the volume that was such a big part of the show.
“I`m disappointed that I was right when I said what was going to happen. I`m sorry that it`s happened,” he said.