From 1991 to 2008, American open-wheel racing annually made a visit to Australia at the beloved Surfers Paradise Street Circuit. But what if the current Verizon IndyCar Series was able to make its way back Down Under at the home of Formula One’s Australian Grand Prix?
Race organizers are still agitated over the lack of noise from F1’s new V6-powered machines, which they say detracted from the atmosphere during the Grand Prix earlier this month.
Now, after alleging that the quieter cars may have breached their contract with F1 management, the organizers have continued their saber-rattling by not only threatening a lawsuit but also bringing up IndyCar as a possible replacement at Albert Park.
“We may as well go and buy an IndyCar race for $3.5m [AUS]. It would be hugely louder,” Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker told the UK’s Independent this week.
“It would be a drastic change to switch to IndyCar but we cannot go on like this.”
Walker also added that the new sound of F1 was “a disgrace” and that as a result, promoters will resort to having to “go and get an IndyCar race or something like that to keep the fans.”
As for the matter of the possible lawsuit, Walker says he has written F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to inform him that F1’s Promoters Association group (of which Walker is the chairman) will meet in two weeks’ time to discuss the matter.
“We can’t just sit back and wait,” he declared. “There’s a strong wind blowing here. Legal action would not be very difficult. Bernie is clearly in breach of his contract because this is not what we bought…”
“I didn’t buy a wimp. Originally, I bought a giant with noise.”
Ecclestone himself has said that he was talking with FIA president Jean Todt about ways to make the cars louder, like their V8-powered predecessors. However, he has told Sky Sports in Malaysia that the noise was louder than he expected and that if it were raised a little bit more, “it will be alright.”
Todt himself appears open to the idea of louder engines, even though he has said he finds the V6 tones “fascinating” from his perspective.