Ecclestone decisions at the heart of F1 engine woes


The likeness between Gerald Ratner and Bernie Ecclestone has been made many times before. But for those of you who haven’t heard, Ratner was responsible for one of the biggest gaffes by a global corporate boss. He wiped Gerald wiped £500 million from the value of Ratners jewellers with one speech in 1991.

He said: “We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’ I say, because it’s total crap.”

Bernie Ecclestone is again this week talking about Formula One engines and continue to bang the drum about bringing back the V8’s – this time for disenfranchised customer teams, like Red Bull. Bernie tells the Independent, “I don’t think we should get consent from the teams. I think we should just do it and say to them, ‘If you don’t like it you can go to arbitration’. We could get the V8s back next year. People can build them in no time so we ought to do it.

“If Ferrari only agreed to supply one customer engine, Mercedes only agreed to supply one, nobody would have any engines. That’s exactly what the situation is. We need an independent engine supplier. I’ve been on about this now for a year and a half.”

We all know about the deaf old giffers obsession with noise, but the V8’s here are being proposed as a cost saving, communist style ‘an engine for all’ solution – and the implied back story is Red Bull and Toro Rosso.

If we deal just with the notion of needing an independent engine supplier – and forget the rest of the Ecclestone ramblings, the answer is Formula One had one of those. Renault. Yet unlike the other engine manufacturers Renault received no payment from FOM because they were not entering a works team.

The root of the problem is the deals Ecclestone did at the end of the Concorde agreement. He failed to take into account the incremental costs about to face the teams, thus not even proportionally providing the same for those further down the F1 food chain.

Secondly, he contributed to Renault’s perception that there was a lack of appreciation of their contribution to Formula One. And Bernie has not learned his lesson, otherwise the deal to buy Lotus would may well be done by now.

The reality of the current situation is as Ecclestone says, the teams will not agree to a V8 engine, and even a majority vote from Jean Todt and Ecclestone at the strategy group would be in breach of the unanimity requirements for regulations applicable to 2016.

This is more hot air, and it would be better if Bernie applied himself to solving the problems he created rather than blaming everyone else.

20 responses to “Ecclestone decisions at the heart of F1 engine woes

  1. The problem is that Bernie needs to take a long, hard look at himself.
    Unfortunately, where there should be a mirror he just has a framed photo of Andy Warhol.

    • That’s probably in recognition of the fact he has no reflection. It staggers me that he’s seen out in daylight so often…..

  2. He really is losing it now. What next? Bring back cigarette advertising? Does he think its 1980. And what happens if Red Bull new cheap engine isn’t very good? If they can’t win they are not interested in playing the game. Tell them to go away and play someone else’s game.

    • He’s in denial is all.
      He just can’t face up to the fact the he and he alone has screwed the sport he so long and carefully built up and in his usual disengenuous way…..You’ve seen it all before, ad nauseam.

    • all your points are really original. how did you come up with them by yourself?

      thank you for contributing to the conversation instead of just being a parrot and repeating what you’ve been told over the past decade.

  3. Well, at least he’s right about one thing, though he totally failed to do anything about it when he had the chance. Not that the FIA was any better, mind you, but Ecclestone has always been the one who spoke loudest of all critics.

    The sport needs an independent engine supplier and the current situation shows perfectly why that is so important. With only Mercedes and Ferrari guaranteed to stay in the sport – one because they’re so dominant presently and one because it’s their traditional focus of motorsport – the remaining years of Formula 1 with the current engine formula could become problematic. Just imagine what would happen if Renault opts out of buying the Lotus team and Honda’s next year is equally catastrophic, which ends with them withdrawing again. If they’re unlucky, they could fight with Ferrari powered Haas cars or Mercedes powered Manor for that matter. We could have a 2016/17 track without Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Lotus and a McLaren team without an engine supplier. The power of both engine constructors over the sport would be absolute under these circumstances.

    • But unfortunately, nobody wants to pay for the independent engine.. Cosworth said they needed two-three solid customer teams to proceed with the engine development.

  4. Why does he keep going on about bringing back the V8s as if it could happen overnight? The whole design philosophy would need changing, packaging is different, power and torque production is different, fuel use is different, electrical management is different. You’d need different gear ratios, possibly even change the size / strength of the gears.

    It would be a 6 month job, not a few tweaks of a mouse.

    You’d need to equalise the engines – and how do you do that when they produce power in different ways? The V8s have more outright grunt but with all the bells and whistles the turbos can produce more power – albeit not for as long. Do we have KERS V8 or plain, no frills V8?

    I do wish Renault would decide what they are doing though, as if they pull out at least someone could ‘buy’ the design and produce it as a cheap engine for the smaller teams…

  5. Or could it be as a result of the bet he made with Mercedes?

    “Ecclestone challenged the reigning F1 champions to replicate their 2014 success, believing the feat would be too difficult in the current field but Mercedes secured a successive Constructors’ World Championship last week courtesy of Lewis Hamilton’s routine victory in Russia.

    Hamilton’s 20th race win in the past two seasons, combined with team-mate Nico Rosberg’s eight, triggered Ecclestone’s payment having easily surpassed the required tally.

    ‘It was stupidity really, when I said that if they could achieve what Red Bull achieved, which was two consecutive championships and winning 21 races, then they got paid for it,’ admitted Eccelstone to The Times.”

    Mercedes must have been laughing their asses off when he made the bet, because that was easier than taking candy from a baby.

    So that’s why he’s pushing so hard for a return of the V8’s?

    • From what you say it sounds like he made the bet after they’d won in 2014.

      If so, what series was he actually watching?

      The only lingering question from 2014 was whether Nico could gather things up enough to challenge Lewis. That one was put to bed pretty early this year. (Which makes 2016 look even more depressing…)

      My vote would be senility…. But he’s been acting senile for about 20 years while still making some pretty shrewd deals…

      • Who’s money is he actually playing with though? His own? I doubt it.

        More likely FOM / CVC / F1’s revenue. All it means is collectively the teams get about 25 mill less and FOM get 25 mill less.


      • Nico couldnt even handle the push over mark webber, there was never any question if he could gather things up enough to challenge lewis.

        the only people asking this question were the blind lewis supporters desperate to be able to claim lewis’ last 2 championships werent the easiest in history. which they certainly were.

        • Unless you can illustrate where it says a championship should be won based on it being difficult to attain, then we the blind Lewis Hamilton fans, will take them.

          Next season we’ll petition for him to give everyone a 50pts head start. At least when he wins again, history will say it was the hardest ever…😏😏

        • Well, he did OK against Schumacher… But yes, he can be quick but doesn’t have the edge Lewis has.

          Maybe the way I should have put it was the lingering question was would Lewis create enough distractions in his life to allow Nico to get the better of him. However, he seems to have that side of things well and truly sorted – or at least he now has the sense to keep it behind closed doors.

          But.. Easiest in history? What about the Williams years in the 90s? And some of the Schumacher years? There were times when the title was sewn up by Hungary… Nico is at least was enough of a threat that Lewis needed to be there or thereabouts as we saw last season.

    • I think it’s less about the engine noise and more about Bernie showing his dominance over the Manufacturers and teams to follow his tune and not their own. It’s what this boils down to – Bernie’s grip on the sport has been slowly eroding over time, the new power unit formula has bought that into sharp focus. Bernie doesn’t seem quite able to comprehend that the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari won’t turn back the clock due to two factors –
      1. Mercedes and Ferrari are ahead of the rest, it would be foolish for them to acquiesce to Red Bull’s power unit parity demands or even consider V8’s as a stop gap measure to keep Red Bull on the grid.
      2. The amount of money spent on the development and production of the Power Units means it would not make any sort of business sense for the manufacturers to revert back to V8’s or even have them as a supply option as that would mean diverting resources away from the Power Unit developments or spending even more money to hire more people.

      Put simply the future will be the evolution of these hybrid power units or F1 dies in acrimony with manufacturers walking out and setting up rival formula’s. Of course there is the notion that Bernie is doing everything in his power to destroy F1 i.e. take it with him to his grave aka “You want F1 ? Start it from scratch, you are not benefiting from my wheeling and dealing”.

      • Look back at the demise of all engine types v12, turbo, 3.5 l, v10, same story except now we have TJ13 to give us the play by play. History is just repeating itself. Do we really think behind closed doors the v12 went quietly? No there were concessions made along the way. Concessions will be made again. Storm in a teacup as ol Joe Saward has always said.

        • In some ways that is something missing from the current regulations. Thinking back, one of the more enjoyable times was when you had V8s, V10s and V12s on the grid at the same time. No one engine was suited to all tracks, so some tracks suited the smaller, lighter but less powerful V8s while others suited the big, heavy, powerful V12s.

          I wonder if similar regulations these days would lead to a variety of engine types out there? It would certainly make it more interesting if there was more engine variety and one powerplant wasn’t best on all circuits.

  6. Bernie loves manufacturers because they bring so much money to the sport, buutttt…that’s only if there are lots of them, then any one is not a great risk to lose. It’s when there aren’t many mfrs that things become a problem for Bernie, as the power concentrates in those few mfrs. That’s when he starts to talk about an affordable customer engine, which isn’t a solution at all. What he really wants is a competitive customer engine, but if it were competitive with Merc and Ferrari, is it really likely to be an affordable customer engine? Bernie’s been chasing unicorns again.

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