The F1 paddock in Barcelona is a fascinating place this weekend as race promoters from all over the world are here, as well as many prominent figures from CVC.
Bernie Ecclestone arrived on Saturday morning, after attending his court hearing in Munich on Friday where the convicted former banker Gerhard Gribkowsky was giving evidence in Ecclestone’s trial. Ecclestone is charged with having bribed Gribkowsky to sell Bayern LB bank’s shares in F1 to CVC in 2006 in order that Ecclestone could remain in charge of the sport.
The presence of all the F1 race promoters, apart from China, is interesting as they have much to discuss regarding the future of the sport, the cost of hosting races and one of the main items on the agenda is the noise of the F1 cars, which continues to be a concern for them. It is widely considered that the new hybrid turbos are too quiet and undermine the show.
Mercedes is due to track test a megaphone exhaust next week during the two day test, following on from work done at its Brixworth engine base on the dynos. It is said that the engine sound was significantly louder in that test, now it will be tried on circuit and assessed.
But it appeared yesterday that some rivals are unhappy about Mercedes doing this as they are concerned it might be a performance enhancing move by the German manufacturer. Mercedes already has a significant advantage over its rivals and has won all four races this season from pole position.
Mercedes F1 team chairman Niki Lauda scoffed at these suggestions,
“It changes the horse power of the engine by zero. The only thing that changes is the funnel at the end of the exhaust. It just makes more noise.
“Everyone thinks Mercedes has done this to have an advantage; what absolute nonsense.”
Mercedes has been frustrated that the positive story about the new technology has been drowned out by the arguments on show, noise and fuel management.