Ecclestone: 'Dig out the V8s' until new F1 engine is introduced

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Former Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has suggested the sport "dig out" the old V8 engines until a new unit is introduced.

Talks on the next-generation engine have picked up in recent months, with some calling for them to be brought forward to 2025 in the wake of Honda's decision to pull out at the end of this year.

That's because Red Bull is negotiating to take over production of the Japanese manufacturer's engines from 2022 but have requested a development freeze to reduce costs.

Rather than do that, however, Ecclestone believes F1 should simply dump the current hybrid formula and bring back the V8s.

“I’ll be in trouble for this, but let’s dig out all the old normally aspirated engines,” he said in the upcoming issue of Motor Sport Magazine.

“Everybody’s got them, the costs go right down, the noise will be back, and we can use them for five years while we sort out an engine for the future.”

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That, however, is never going to happen, with F1 focused on being carbon neutral by 2030.

“We’re doubling down on hybrids,” Formula 1’s director of strategy and business development Yath Gangakumaran told last year.

“We believe there will be several routes to a lower carbon automotive industry, and we want to be associated with one we think will not just have a major impact positively on the automotive industry but also will support our objectives as a sport that’s looking to entertain fans around the world.

“Yes, everyone’s talking about electric and hydrogen and we have looked into that as part of our next-generation engine, which will come in five years’ time. But they really don’t have the performance characteristics we need as the pinnacle of motorsport, to allow our cars to go at the speeds we want and the distances we require around our tracks.”

F1 is also currently focused on creating new sustainable biofuels, with the first barrels being released for manufacturers to test ahead of their planned introduction in 2022 or 2023.


However, Ecclestone believes this focus on technology will continue to diminish the experience for fans.

“Formula 1 doesn’t have to be relevant to the car industry,” he claimed. “People forget, Formula 1 is in the entertainment business and when you stop entertaining you haven’t got a business.

“There’s going to be a lot of changes [in the world]. Everyone will have electric cars, the politicians will see to that, you won’t be able to take a petrol car into a city. People will say, ‘Hang about, all these F1 cars charging round – why aren’t they electric?’ and the manufacturers are going to stop making petrol or diesel cars within a few years.

“Honda is going; Red Bull will take the engine but that will only work if the others agree to freeze, otherwise they’ll just go on spending God knows what to stay ahead.

"Let’s get rid of these bloody silly engines they have now. The people in the grandstands aren’t interested in how super-efficient they are, how much fuel they use, how powerful they are. Max [Mosley] said the noise doesn’t matter but I think it does, always have done.”