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Bernie: Merc can lead F1 changes

2014-04-07 10:22

MERCEDES ON A ROLL: Mercedes grabbed its third successive F1 victory in 2014 at the Bahrain GP. New rule changes could curb the team’s winning streak. Image: AP/Kamran Jebreili


MANAMA, Bahrain - Formula 1 needs to make rule changes to placate ITS disappointed fans but leader Mercedes must not be punished for doing a better job than its rivals.

That's the view of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone who said at the 2014 Bahrain GP: "Mercedes, without any doubt, has done a better job and it shouldn't be punished for doing a good job. We shouldn't change the regulations to punish it.”

The ditching of ear-splitting V8 engines and ushering in of a quieter V6 turb/hybrid era, with an emphasis on fuel economy, has upset some spectators and promoters.


Ferrari and Red Bull, each playing catch-up to the Mercedes-powered teams, has been outspoken in criticism and demands for change - with rivals accusing teams of playing politics to mask failings.

Ecclestone spoke to International Automobile Federation president Jean Todt and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo at the Sakhir circuit. "We have to (change), for sure," he said, "but I don't think the way things are at the moment are acceptable to the public.

 "People buying tickets to come here, or go somewhere else, are expecting to see what F1 used to be.

"What is important is that the teams know the problem and the engine manufacturers know the problem, and they're trying to sort it."

He ruled out a suggestion, earlier raised by Montezemolo, for races to be shorter but said the noise could be addressed and the fuel allowance of 100kg increased to 110kg

Montezemolo, surrounded by a scrum of reporters when he arrived later, said changing the 'music' of the engines and allowing more fuel were steps in the right direction in the short term. "I fully understand the Mercedes position. It's not a question to change the rules now. For the future, it's a different situation.

"We have to look ahead and change something without interfering with today's rules because if somebody is in the lead, as is Mercedes, it's absolutely correct not to change something now."


Montezemolo also accepted that Ferrari needed to be more competitive under the existing rules.

Ecclestone has been a long-standing critic of the new engines  but recognised the technology and amount of power they produced from so little fuel was "incredible". "I don't think that's F1 business. It should be done in Touring Cars or something, but not in F1."

He said Mercedes, winner of the first three races in2014, would lead the way off the track as well as on it without their performance being compromised: "Mercedes is going to be behind it (the change) and I think will be the leaders. We can do these things without it particularly doing that (losing advantage).

"I think everybody is complaining, even Mercedes. They don't like people not being happy."

Some senior team officials have accused rivals of talking down the sport, or 'doing a Ratner' - an allusion to the British jeweller who mocked his own products in a 1991 speech and saw his business lose the equivalent of R8bn in value.

Ecclestone disagreed with that assessment: "People have an opinion, that's all."

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