Amid the ongoing furore surrounding Formula 1’s lower volume, the conspiracy theorists and critics are now beginning to raise their voices in and around the paddock.
Bernie Ecclestone has been the staunchest critic of the sound being made by Formula 1’s new turbo V6s, causing some to wonder if he is deliberating trying to devalue the sport.
“He will then orchestrate the purchase of the majority share in the business at a reduced price and remain in charge for the rest of eternity,” proposed one such theorist, Daily Mail correspondent Jonathan McEvoy.
McEvoy, however, is not alone. Also vocally critical of the new, greener and quieter Formula 1 has been Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz.
Michael Schmidt, the Auto Motor und Sport correspondent, asked Ecclestone in Malaysia if he thinks the Austrian billionaire might also be trying to drive Formula 1’s price down ahead of an audacious takeover bid.
“No idea,” the Formula 1 chief executive responded.
The logic of the takeover reports are obvious, given the ferocity with which known allies including Ecclestone, Mateschitz and world champion Sebastian Vettel have been slamming the new Formula 1.
Speaking on the eve of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, Vettel responded to questions by reporters about the unspectacular sound and his response was, “It’s sh*t. That’s my opinion and I think for the fans as well. I think Formula One has to be spectacular and the sound is one of the most important things.”
But Christian Horner, although also in the Red Bull camp and constantly touted as a potential long-term successor to Ecclestone, seemed to count himself out of the conspiracy.
“It (Formula 1) is Bernie’s product and he has to sell it. Formula 1 isn’t rubbish,” the Briton is quoted by The Times newspaper.
But Ecclestone hit back: “May I remind you that this is not my product. I did not want this, so you can’t blame me.”
Also asked by Schmidt if he is aware his criticism could be driving down Formula 1’s takeover price, Ecclestone responded: “I’m not happy with what we have now. Why do we have these rules? Because they were written by engineers.
“Don’t get me wrong, these engines are wonderful pieces of engineering. But I don’t think it’s what the sport needed.” (GMM)