Ecclestone welcomes Audi, fears 3-year struggle

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I was reading Adam Cooper’s piece regarding Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s comments about Audi coming to F1. It’s a logical position and worthy thought if you consider Honda’s current plight.

Ecclestone says he would welcome Audi, for sure, but fears they may be behind the curve due to the engine regulations:

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“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.”

“The problem is the engine situation. I believe Honda thought it wasn’t a problem. I told them it would be…”

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Many fans were hoping Honda might hit the ground running but realistically, the technology is fiercely complicated and teams such as Mercedes have proven, race-tested engines that are already matured beyond the initial incubation period. Honda is struggling to find the reliability and performance it takes to compete with teams such as Mercedes and Ferrari.

The other side of that coin is that Renault have been doing it just as long and they are struggling nearly as much as Honda is so does it matter? Some wonder if Audi wouldn’t rather wait until a new format is agreed upon before jumping in and perhaps they would like to see the regulations more open to alternative engine strategies such as the ones they currently enjoy in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Namely, a diesel-powered engine.

Would a learning curve throw a team like Audi off the scent? Did it in Le Mans? It may give reason for pause given the enormous amount of money it takes to compete at that level but the team do have former F1 team boss Stefano Domenicali involved and he knows the ropes.

There is a side of me that would love to see Dr. Ulrich and Mr. Juttner taking the fight to F1. Maybe bring Ms. Gade along to give Monisha Kaltenborn and Claire Williams a run for their money?

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Junipero Mariano

I’m looking forward to hearing “Did you know, David, that Auto Union hasn’t raced since 1939?” again and again.

stvsxm

with the rules the way they are I don’t know why any manufacturer would even remotely consider entering… I want to be in the boardroom when someone says ” hey… I think its a great idea to spend a few hundred million right upfront and then another couple hundred million every year to get involved with a series where we can have no success what so ever and is as politically dysfunctional and unreliable as any on the planet AND if don’t win instantly we will be savaged like Honda and if , in four years we ARE successful, we… Read more »

Tom Firth

The motorsport work has developed massively since Audi last entered a championship from scratch in top-line motorsport, however it is going to take two or three years to be very competitive in F1, with the extremely limited testing the team could do prior to entry. The R8R programme of 1999, had a years development and testing, prior to its debut I think in 1999 at Sebring, which the team took home a podium, then far more testing prior to Le Mans, whilst the R8C programme entered in 1999, by Audi Sport UK, which was the closed cockpit design, had very… Read more »

Junipero Mariano

One could see a trade of Toro Rosso for an engine supply from Audi, but that makes the team from Faenza the works team doesn’t it?

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