Alesi says new F1 turbo era completely overshadows drivers

Jean Alesi

Jean Alesi

With a week to go before Formula 1’s brave new turbo era fires up in earnest, not everyone is excited.

At the Geneva motor show, ex Formula 1 driver Jean Alesi admitted he is no fan of the ‘greener’ era of energy-recovery boosted cars.

“The driver is being completely overshadowed by the new technology,” said the Frenchman.

“It is a challenge for the engineer but not the driver. We have entered an era in which only the tools count,” added Alesi, who raced more than 200 times until 2001.

“Now a driver cannot trust his instinct to attack his opponent because he is just one small element of the machine.”

Alesi said that “it is no surprise” that Mercedes looks set to dominate early in 2014.

“That has not happened by chance,” said the French-Sicilian. “As [Ferrari boss] Stefano Domenicali has said, Mercedes is a giant who did an extreme preparation for this championship.”

Also not overjoyed at Formula 1’s new era is Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who said the changes for 2014 have been “very expensive for teams but changing little for the viewer”.

But FIA president Jean Todt insists that Formula 1 had to change.

“If you go to the Geneva motor show,” he told Italy’s La Stampa, “you see that cars are different now. There are hybrid and smaller engines, fewer cylinders.

“The automotive world has changed, and Formula 1 must be a laboratory of technologies rather than a showcase of aerodynamics,” Todt said.

He is even unapologetic about Formula 1 losing its iconic engine ‘scream’.

“The sound of the turbo has its own charm,” Todt insisted, “but in addition we have powerful cars that consume much less fuel – it was an inevitable revolution.

“And if Honda has decided to come back, it means the revolution is working.”

At the same time, Todt said, Formula 1 must reduce its costs.

“It is absurd,” he said, “that half of the drivers in the maximum category of automobile racing are paying to drive. I know of no other sport in the world where that happens.”

The apparent solution is a mandatory cost cap, and the details are being discussed now. Not supportive at all is McLaren’s returning supremo, Ron Dennis.

“If you can’t afford to be in Formula 1,” he said on Thursday, “don’t be in Formula 1.”

Dennis also accused the FIA of being hypocritical about costs, having imposed the “most expensive engine in the history of motor sport” on the teams.

“The same people who took us down this path are now going down another path, saying we need to reduce costs. How contrary to logic is that?” he asked. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

Content on by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Getty Images, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.

  • Nowhereman

    Dennis is right.. The FIA (Fix It Again) is so political they argue on how to put their underwear on..
    The FIA will eventually hurt F1 so bad they will be kicked out and a new F1 organization will evolve that will make sense and bring fans back.

  • McLarenfan

    I have to agree I have been saying for ages that the new PU’s are truly stupid.
    how can something that runs on batteries be classed as greener it would have been more sensible to work on the fuel driving the machine I know that their is a huge amount of sponsorship from fuel companies but if the fuel company helps make the fuel then the engineers develop the motor to work well with that green fuel then F1 looks good and the Honda, Ferrari and other engine manufacturers can say look we have a green fuel driving our engines no batteries needed.
    Lower carbon footprint. But the FIA in their wisdom know better highly toxic batteries and multi million pound investments in this technology producing these Power units that cost approximately 20 million each