Ecclestone: F1 needs 1,000bhp V8 engines

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Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has called for a return to V8 engine format with 1,000bhp. According to Gazzetta dello Sport via AUTOSPORT, the ringmaster of F1 says the series has to do something immediately to stave off waning viewers, sponsors and interest in the sport.

“We need to go back to engines whose costs are more reasonable, and we need to intervene with maximum urgency,” Ecclestone said.

“Going back to a Formula 1 with naturally aspirated engines and KERS, while setting precise constraints, would drastically reduce costs and would be convenient for those already in F1 and for those would like to enter it.”

“We’d just need to take the old V8 engines and modify them by increasing displacement to bring power output near 1000bhp.

“People would return, the show would return, sponsors would return.”

Ecclestone hasn’t been the biggest fan of the new V6 turbo Hybrid engines and blames the new format for some of the lack of interest of late in F1—not to mention the out-of-control costs and bankruptcy of the smaller teams such as Caterham, and Marussia.

“F1 isn’t just technology, but enjoyment too,” he said. “We need to think about who buys a ticket, goes in the grandstands and wants to see a great sporting spectacle.

“It’s money doing the rounds: the public pays for tickets, the organisers cash in and pay us, who then forward the money to the teams together with TV rights.

“But if TV audiences shrink and the public at GPs do too, then it becomes a problem.”

Many have accused Ecclestone of being disinterested in the fans who attend the grands prix in favor of TV viewers and while revenue from broadcast packages is large, butts-in-seats is still an issue for the F1 ringleader.

The question may be, how does the sport reconcile the insatiable appetite of those young fans who love the tech involved with the entertainment value as well as the sports core DNA?

It’s not an easy question but last weekend was fortunate enough to see that exact combination play out in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) 6-hour race at Silverstone. Disparate technology approaches, classes and driver skill levels all combined for flat-out racing for six hours to see the winner claim victory by just barely over four seconds. Amazing!

F1 has frog marched its fans into the hybrid format with all the grace and economy of a dog owner rubbing his hound’s nose in a pile of poo to remind them that THIS is green and THIS is where all car technology is heading and THIS is what we all will be purchasing in the future and THIS is real racing done right. That’s a lot of THIS to be honest and not a lot of COULD or WOULD or SHOULD.

Mercedes and Renault kicked the sport in the shins with a Jean Todt/FIA shaped club until it managed to change the format to one that manufacturers felt would be road relevant and more appealing. It may be but TV viewing numbers aren’t supporting it—or at least they aren’t supporting the kind of racing it begets.

The series will need to make some changes quick if it wants to hold off a charging WEC. Ultimately changing the engine and regulations will need to happen in order to bring racing back to the forefront of F1. In some ways, it feels like the F1 Strategy group decided they wanted to become the Silicon Valley of motorsport instead of simply racing and while the tech is mind boggling, perhaps the pendulum has swung too far to one side for viewers and competitive racing to hold interest or gain purchase in the part of our brain the craves entertainment.

Maybe it isn’t 1,000bhp V8’s. Maybe its 1,000bhp twin turbo V6’s with fuel restriction and KERS. Regardless, at least Ecclestone is talking about it and trying to do something about the situation while the only sound from the FIA and F1 Strategy group is that of crickets and tumbleweeds, propelled by the electric wind of change, rustling by stupefied faces of brilliant people who can’t agree to fight for common good rather than personal gain.

Hat Tip:Gazzetta dello Sport via AUTOSPORT

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Paul KieferJr

Okay, Bernie, I’ll give you that one.

oregonwings

So much over regulation in F1 limiting development has actually cost teams more money to eek out what they can out of the small box they have to work within. WEC on the other hand, although not completely open, is much more free to experiment with different solution to the speed / energy conservation problem. What’s so amazing about WEC is the fact that not only are the top LMP1 cars finishing so close to each other, but the fact that they are doing it with very different solutions. Turbo Diesel w/Flywheel; V6 Turbo w/Lion batteries; and V8 plus super-capacitors,… Read more »

xorpheous

What he said. ^^^

Negative Camber

There was a reason I chose this pic…because Adrian agrees with you about the limitations on development. And I agree with you, not that it carries much weight, in that F1 is not a road car incubator. WEC has more relevance for that effort than F1. F1 can have relevancy but both series take from the aerospace industry and I find it odd that in this day and age we still keep promoting the idea that the road car industry is a bunch of bumbling idiots who can’t innovate with F1 or WEC. they are brilliant in their own right.

Chuck Voelter

I’m confused – can a WEC car beat an F1 car around a circuit?

oregonwings

No Chuck, WEC can’t beat an F1 car but the times are not far off. The WEC cars are more than 2 times the weight, which makes their fairly close times that much more impressive. Look up the WEC Silverstone race on YouTube (someone posted the broadcast there)…and you will see how those cars look like they are driving on rails through the corners and accelerating at a blinding pace. Even if WEC isn’t quite as fast as F1, it is better racing as a whole.

Chuck Voelter

well, all that understood, I want to see the fastest damned car on the planet whip around the circuit. I understand the current cars aren’t operating at their maximum anyway and they’re almost matching circuit records. It seems as though this is still only about the engine noise.

oregonwings

Chuck – I think it’s about 3 things. 1 The “spectacle” (i.e. the noise) 2 The cost (these new powerplants are an exponentially bigger part of annual budget) reducing the number of cars on grid 3 Bernie wanting to reset the advantage Mercedes has and hoping closer competition will result As for “fastest cars on the planet”, F1 still is and I’d bet FIA/Bernie will make sure it remains so, if only by a small margin. My argument is that the new over regulated power units actually makes the cost higher and the racing less of a spectacle at the… Read more »

eggoman

I like you.

Richard Bunce

WECify F1 regulations.

mini696

Changing to new engines only runs the risk of the same thing happening again (Mercedes getting it right).

Terry Fishlock

The reason TV audiences are dwindling is not due to the racing, It’s due to the cost of premium channels which now show F1 in major markets. Get back to free viewing on national broadcasters and see the numbers rise. Bernie can’t have it both ways, Huge payoffs from Sky and big viewing figures,

To take the series from a formula which is relevant to car manufacturers and relegate it to a historic formula is a retrograde step which will see the withdrawal of Renault and Mercedes. In which case what have you left?

Henry Valdez

No Problemo Just throw the twin turbo V6 out the F1 Window Money Grows on Trees Hmm Get a new life Bernie !

MIE

This strikes me as an attempt by Mr E to get a statement from Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes that they would prefer to stick with the current V6 power units, as to develop a V8 to1000bhp would cost them more. The Colts for the team’s would also be significant as not only would the engine be larger it would need a much larger fuel tank than the current 100kg.

BasCB

I would think it might be a push for them to agree on a price limit for the engine for customer teams. Because these engines are already close enough to 1000 pbh that changing the format won’t be needed for that. The huge costs on development have already been spent and would be spent again on getting those V8s updated, so no one would save anything, it will just drive up cost again. But hammering on cost might just bring the manufacturers to accept that they can’t offload all the money put into these engines onto the customer teams. Surely… Read more »

jakobusvdl

You are probably onto something there MIE, has it worked? Are there any signs that the current pu suppliers are supporting the current pu format, or that other manufacturers are lining to provide hybrid p.u’s or 1000hp N.A V8’s?

Tim C

When the current engine formula was introduced I said to myself . . . cool! But, then I said to myself, that’s a huge leap for one set of regulation changes. I think the whole 6 cylinder, turbo, energy store system is a great end game to shoot for. However, I think there should have been baby steps along the way. Try out the 6 cylinder turbos with KERS for a few years and get that developed. Then add the revised energy store to the equation. There’s definitely more than one way to get from point A to point B,… Read more »

Gerry

At what point is everyone going to admit that the races are BORING. There is something about walking to the track and you can here the cars from a mile away. That’s a trill we all love. When you can sit in the stands and have a conversation with the person next to you then to me that’s not formula 1. I want everyone to think back to the first time you went to a formula 1 race and you stood along the track near the fence and you felt that car go by. You felt it all the way… Read more »

jakobusvdl

Is this just part of Bernie’s ongoing process of spinning drama around F1?
It seems that the ‘sport’ is constantly in crisis of one form or another. Most of it turns out to be Bernie generated hot air, and / or results in some ill considered and botched action (hi degradation tyres, drs), or just fades away (medals, water sprinklers).
Is this really what it takes to keep the money rolling into F1, or would more considered and rational governance lead to a better overall sport?

Was

If the stooges that run F1 were serious about equalising the field and get racing exciting all they aneed to do is – 1/ Unlimited engines across season 2/ Unlimited tyres for qualiifying 7 races (adds to team strategies) 3/ Get rid of fuel flow limitations 4/ Boost limit with electric drive as a boost (like KERS) 5/ Bring back pit stop re-fuelling (just to add to possible team strategies) Teams wont have to change engines, more room for development. Much easier for the field to become more equal. Allows for many more variables for teams ie; how much fuel… Read more »

DRS_Matt

This is the same guy that said “I dont know why you’re asking me about losing italy, germany and france, everyone LOVES the replacements we gave them! Check and mate reporter! *fart*