BRINGING BACK THE BANG: F1 commercial head Bernie Ecclestone has some rules set for 2017 to revive the sport. Image: AFP / Greg Baker
MANAMA, Bahrain - Technical change is coming to formula one.
Just a few days ago, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told La Gazzetta dello Sport his ideal scenario would be to scrap the quiet, expensive and complex turbo V6s and replace them with 1000 horse-power(746kW) V8s.
RETURN OF THE V8?
Ecclestone predicted: "The people would return, the show would return, the sponsors would return."
Talks with F1 team bosses were then held in Bahrain. Ecclestone, 84, would clearly like to impose his changes "as soon as possible", but the realistic aim is for 2017.
The Briton has accused Mercedes and Toto Wolff of blocking any proposals and "killing" the sport, but Wolff said in Bahrain: "I think the rules are going to get changed for 2017."
Wolff told F1's official website the talks this weekend have been about making the cars "more spectacular and quicker".
"That is happening," Wolff added.
He told Britain's Sky that the "chassis side and the power unit side" will be tweaked, amid rumours one of the changes could be twin-turbos and a relaxing of the fuel flow limit, which would also make the engines louder.
Reverting to the old V8 technology, however, is unlikely.
"This (V6) is where the technology of road cars goes, so this is important for car manufacturers. But we can do a lot on the chassis side," said Wolff.
In another report, Reuters said Ecclestone said on Sunday he would be happy to keep them if they became more powerful for less money.
Engine manufacturers held talks in the Bahrain GP paddock on Friday (April 17) about plans to introduce 746kW V6 units from 2017, which would make cars louder and more of a handful.
Asked whether he would be happy to continue with the V6, or still wanted to go back to the old V8s, Ecclestone told reporters: "If it's going to be the current engine, upgraded to 746kW, good. And they need to supply them at a price that the teams can afford to pay.
"We need to make the cars more difficult to drive."
F1 currently has four engine makers - Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari and Honda - and Wolff said they all wanted to retain the hybrid element.
"The discussion about a 746kW engine has been around quite a while and I appreciate very well that it needs to be a spectacular formula and if that's the way forward then we should continue to work on it," he told Reuters reporters on Saturday.
"There are various groups coming together in terms of how the 2017 rules can look like and in terms of power unit and the chassis side.
"Yesterday there was a very valuable meeting, (FIA race director) Charlie (Whiting) was there and Bernie was there. Concepts are being put in place to make it a spectacular new formula in 2017."
Wolff said one way to boost horsepower, and noise, would be to increase the fuel flow rate but that would also bring additional costs.
"We are pretty easy on the fuel flow," he said of the Mercedes stance. "But clearly increasing the fuel flow means redesigning crucial and major bits and pieces of the engine. So we need to know earlier than later."