Oct.25 (GMM/Inautonews.com) As Hurricane Patricia brought a different kind of whirlwind to the Austin paddock, Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday confirmed his plans to introduce a second tier of engine regulations in formula one for 2017.
“If we don’t do it, we will lose some teams,” the F1 chief executive warned at the torrentially-sodden Circuit of the Americas, where qualifying has been delayed until race day.
He is referring to the fact that Red Bull and Toro Rosso will be lost to the sport because Mercedes, Ferrari and now Honda have all lined up to refuse to supply them under the existing, 1.6 litre ‘power unit’ regime.
The latest, touted Honda solution has apparently been vetoed by Ron Dennis, chief of the Japanese carmaker’s works team McLaren.
“They somehow made a commitment to Ron that he had a veto and he doesn’t want Red Bull,” Ecclestone revealed. “Ron has said ‘Definitely not’.”
But Ecclestone said his new plan, involving cheaper, louder and faster 2.2 litre V6s, perhaps based on the Indycar formula and supplied by Cosworth or Ilmor, will also save cash-strapped teams.
It will reportedly cost small teams just EUR 6 million to buy, but be fully competitive with dominant ‘power unit’ manufacturer Mercedes.
Ecclestone denies he is creating a two-tier system.
“We used to have turbos and normally aspirated (engines),” he insisted. “It was not two-tier, it was called ‘choice’.”
Ecclestone argued that he will overcome the problem that Ferrari can veto any offensive rule change, suggesting that he has the backing of FIA president Jean Todt.
“The FIA will put out a press release on Monday or Tuesday,” he claimed.
Germany’s Sport Bild said Ecclestone, who thinks the engine rules in their current form have caused “the biggest problems F1 has ever had”, will meet with Cosworth chief Kevin Kalkhoven in the coming hours.