F1 noise row: Mercedes would have quit without V6 engines

German firm could no longer justify investment in outdated V8 engines, says Daimler chief

F1 Mercedes team-mates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton
(Image credit: Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

MERCEDES are revelling in the new era of Formula 1, having seen their drivers win all three of this season's Grands Prix and registering back-to-back one-twos in the last two races. And now the German manufacturer has claimed that it would have quit the sport had it not introduced the new, quieter V6 engines that have caused such a big noise among their critics. F1 committed to using more fuel-efficient engines back in 2009, and a senior figure at Daimler, Mercedes's parent company, has now revealed that the decision convinced the team to stay in the sport, even though other marques, including BMW and Toyota were leaving. Professor Dr Thomas Weber, who oversees research and development at Daimler, told the BBC that the new rules meant that technology used for F1 could also be applied to road car development. "The key challenge for the future is fuel economy and efficiency and with the change in regulations F1 is the spearhead for development," he said. "With these new regulations I can clearly convince the supervisory board that the [F1 team] are doing exactly what we need – downsizing, direct injection, lightweight construction, fuel efficiency on the highest possible level, new technologies and combining a combustion engine with an e-motor hybrid." In another interview with Autosport he said critics of the new engines, including Bernie Ecclestone, "believe they can continue everything forever" but said that it was increasingly hard for engine manufacturers to justify their investment in the sport when outdated V8 engines were being used. "It is already widely known that Renault would have left F1 if the V8 engines had stayed, while Honda would not be coming back in 2015 if the regulations had not changed either," adds Autosport. However, the row over reduced engine noise rumbles on. The Times reports that Jean Todt, president of the FIA, F1's governing body, is prepared to make some concessions. "Teams could introduce a system that would allow more exhaust noise as soon as next month at a two-day test arranged after the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona," says the paper.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.