Former FIA prez Max Mosley rubbishes F1’s ongoing noise saga

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All the noise about Formula One’s noise is just that to former FIA president Max Mosley. Noise.

And he believes that the current FIA president, Jean Todt, is doing exactly what he would do if he were still in charge.

“I’d do pretty much what Jean is doing, which is take no notice,” he told Reuters in a recent interview from his home in London.

“Or pay lip service to the discussion – ‘Oh, that’s interesting, Bernie’ – but in the end take no notice because there’s nothing anybody can do, the regulations are fixed, nobody can change anything.

“If you try to change them, Mercedes will stop you and your own rules stop you. So there’s nothing to discuss until 2015 and arguably not even then because of the notice periods. So Jean can just very gently take the Mickey.”

The noise – or to some, lack thereof – of F1’s new V6-powered machines has been a hot-button topic in the early rounds of the 2014 World Championship.

Promoters of the Australian Grand Prix have cried foul, Bernie Ecclestone has sounded off on the matter, and reigning World Champion Sebastien Vettel stirred things up when he called the engine noise “s***” last month in Malaysia.

More recently, Ferrari ran a release with the president of the Italian Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malago, saying that the “new F1” was “a product that has absolutely no sense” – which dovetailed nicely with a Ferrari-organized fan poll that had more than 80 percent of the voters rejecting this year’s changes.

To Mosley, all of them are raising a ruckus just to further their own particular agendas – and that those groups have no idea that the public is on to their tactics.

“The truth of the matter is I think that the public don’t take the slightest notice,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is going to say ‘Ooh, Vettel says the engines are rubbish so I’m not going to turn the television on Sunday’. It just doesn’t happen.

“People might turn it off if it’s a boring race, but everyone will turn it on.”

Mosley also mentioned that, “ideally,” Formula One should have gone even further on the green side of things engine-wise with a four-cylinder powerplant.

But in the meantime, he believes that the new noise will eventually be accepted.

“Those cars were becoming dinosaurs and then the sponsors all have to answer to some sort of board about their green credentials,” he said.

“Well, these cars are still very fast…My bet is that by this time next year, people will have forgotten all about the sound. They’ll be fascinated by the cars, by what’s happening.”

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”