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Oz GP boss raps Bernie: 'Fans robbed'

2014-03-17 07:38

FANS NOT HAPPY: Australian GP organisers have told F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone the new engines are too quiet and its cheating the fans, possibly breaching contracts. Image: AFP


MELBOURNE, Australia - Australian Formula 1 GP organisers have complained to the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone about the quieter V6 cars and say their reduced volume may have breached race contracts.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) chairman Ron Walker had already expressed his misgivings to Ecclestone, the organiser's CEO Andrew Westacott told Fairfax radio on Monday.

Westacott said the quieter cars had taken something of the F1 spectacle away from fans: "One aspect of it was just a little bit duller than it's ever been and that's part of the mix and the chemistry that they're going to have to get right. Ron spoke to (Ecclestone) after the race and said the fans don't like it in the venue.

"We pay for a product, we've got contracts in place, we are looking at those very, very seriously because we reckon there's probably been some breaches."


The season-opening Melbourne GP raised the curtain on F1's technological revolution, which includes new turbocharged hybrid 'power units'. Some pundits have bemoaned the quieter cars, saying they preferred the more robust noise of the previous V8's.

Team principals of the major F1 outfits shrugged off the change at Albert Park, saying fans would get used to it.

Formula One management was unable to provide immediate comment. The Singapore office of private equity group CVC Capital, the largest shareholder in Formula One, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters and referred enquiries to their London office, which was closed.

Australia's Victoria state government has yet to sign an extension to the GPcontract, which will expire in 2015.

Walker said this week that the AGPC had hammered out a new deal with F1 management to keep the race in Melbourne but it needed to be signed-off by the state government.

A Victoria government minister in charge of tourism and major events said the government wanted to keep the race and that only cost would be a consideration. She said there was "no rush" to sign.

Recent races have cost Victoria's taxpayers the equivalent of more than R483-million a year.

Germany's Nico Rosberg won the season-openerat Albert Park for Mercedes.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

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