FIA president appears open to louder engines from new cars

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The new era of Formula One was met poorly in some quarters after the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, with complaints seeming to center around the lack of noise made by the V-6 powered cars.

Australian Grand Prix organizers said the quieter cars may have breached their contracts with F1 management, and the series’ boss, Bernie Ecclestone, has said that ways to make the cars louder should be investigated as the season hits its stride.

In his comments, Ecclestone said he had talked to FIA president Jean Todt about the subject, and in an interview with Italian network RAI, the former Ferrari general manager appeared to be open to any ideas – even though he himself found the new sound of F1 “fascinating.”

“The noise is obviously different now, and if there is a problem with it then if the teams agree we can look at a way to make it noisier,” he said to RAI.

But noise is just one aspect that he’s concerned with when it comes to the turbo-charged motors.

He also touched on the subject of teams having to go into fuel-save mode too often in order to see the checkered flag, saying that he doesn’t want to see “Formula One ‘economy runs.'”

However, he said that fuel-saving wasn’t the cause of the lack of passing in Melbourne. Instead, Todt believed that was due to the cars’ aerodynamics and the lack of overtaking opportunities from the Albert Park circuit itself.

“I am convinced that very soon we will see a lot of overtaking,” he said on that subject. “So let’s wait before making judgements.”

Still, Ecclestone has indicated that he isn’t willing to wait very long, at least in regards to the noise issue.

“I don’t know whether it’s possible [to make modifications,] but we should investigate,” he said about that aspect to the UK’s Telegraph paper earlier this month. “I think, let’s get the first few races out of the way and then maybe look to do something.

“We can’t wait all season. It could be too late by then.”

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.