Aussie GP organizers: New, quieter F1 cars may have breached contract

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Saturday night’s Australian Grand Prix seemingly had everythinga dominant performance from Nico Rosberg, stellar efforts from several of the sport’s young guns, and stunning defeats for some of its veteran superstars.

But it didn’t have the distinctive scream of V-8 engines, which have been jettisoned in favor of V-6 turbocharged engines for the start of Formula One’s new technological era.

The V-6 engines definitely made for a different noise around Albert Park and that’s apparently annoyed Aussie GP organizers – with one of them having gone as far to say that the quieter cars may have breached their contracts with Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management.

In an interview with Australia’s Fairfax Radio network, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott said that in addition, the turbo-powered machines have also robbed some of the mystique from its event.

“One aspect of it was just a little bit duller than it’s ever been before and that’s part of the mix and the chemistry that they’re going to have to get right,” Westacott said to Fairfax, as relayed by Reuters.

“[Aussie GP chairman] Ron [Walker] 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 has probably been some breaches.”

Reaction to the new sound of Formula One – more of a throatier growl these days – has been mixed among team owners and fans.

During this weekend’s event broadcast, one of those team owners – Force India’s Vijay Mallya – proclaimed “the noise of Formula One has gone” on the world feed.

But three-time Formula One World Champion and current Mercedes F1 chairman Niki Lauda says that it’s pointless to rewrite the new engine rules for the sake of more decibels.

“Everyone wants to do something about it, but you can’t just change the exhaust pipe, you’d have to redevelop the whole engine and the mapping,” he said according to Autoweek.

“That’s just way too expensive. Please do not change the engines just to make a bit more noise.”

Westacott’s comments could make for more post-Grand Prix controversy Down Under, which is already high after Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from the race after finishing second because of a fuel flow irregularity.

His Red Bull team has vowed to appeal, and team principal Christian Horner is confident of said appeal’s chances.

Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.