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.”

Lauda labels Verstappen USGP penalty ‘the worst I’ve ever seen’

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Mercedes Formula 1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has called the FIA stewards’ decision to penalize Max Verstappen for his last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

Verstappen charged from 16th on the grid to take third place from Raikkonen on the last lap after a stunning fight through the field, completing the fightback with a bold pass in the final sector.

However, the stewards stripped Verstappen of P3 after he appeared to put all four wheels off the circuit when riding the kerb to pass Raikkonen, causing outcry in the F1 community.

Speaking to reporters after the race in Austin, Lauda condemned the stewards’ decision, slamming them for interfering in the late fight.

“We had meetings at the start of the year to see how far stewards should go in decisions during a race because it always says ‘under investigation’,” Lauda said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“So we complained about that and we agreed all together that the stewards would not interfere – very simple.

“If the driver goes over another and upside down, only then would they weigh in. That was at the beginning of last year.

“For six months it was OK, but this decision was the worst I’ve ever seen. He did nothing wrong.”

Lauda said F1 team bosses would discuss stewarding at the next Strategy Group meeting, which is due to be held in the next two weeks.

“These are racing drivers. We are not on the normal roads and it is ridiculous to destroy the sport with these kind of decisions,” Lauda said.

“At the next strategy meeting, we will put it back on the agenda and start all over again, because we cannot do that.

“They go too far and interfere and there was nothing to interfere with. It was normal overtaking.”