With a week to go until the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne’s Albert Park, some are still unconvinced by the sport’s latest revolution.
At this week’s Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi admits he is no fan on the newly created emphasis on hybrid powered cars and fuel conservation.
“The driver is being completely overshadowed by the new technology,” the Frenchman told GMMF1.
“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.”
Heading into the new season it appears his former team will be overhauled by the superior V6 turbo units created by Mercedes, something that Alesi says is unsurprising.
“That has not happened by chance,” he added. “As (Ferrari boss) Stefano Domenicali has said, Mercedes is a giant who did an extreme preparation for this championship.”
One of the current Ferrari crop is also not entirely supportive of the new V6 era as Fernando Alonso claims the changes have been "very expensive for teams but changing little for the viewer”.
But FIA President Jean Todt is standing firm over the changes pointing to the concept cars on display in Geneva.
“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 F1 must be a laboratory of technologies rather than a showcase of aerodynamics,” Todt said.
Perhaps the biggest concern about the new V6-powered cars is the end of the scream from the previously used V8′s however the Frenchman believes the turbo sound will make up for it.
“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.”
Yet despite the expensive rule changes Todt is also calling for the costs of being in Formula 1 to be cut with some sort of cap the most likely option.
The former Ferrari boss pointed at the influence of pay drivers in the top racing series to back up his point of view, however, recently returned McLaren CEO Ron Dennis is firmly against such a move.
“If you can’t afford to be in F1,” he said on Thursday, “don’t be in F1.”
Dennis also pointed to the rise in costs caused by the new V6 era and added: ”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.
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