Share “F1 heads to Malaysia dogged by off-track...”

F1 heads to Malaysia dogged by off-track troubles

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2014 at 11:55 pm •  Published: March 25, 2014
Advertisement

Formula One heads to its second race of the season this weekend in Malaysia with the reigning champion team threatening to withdraw from the sport, the result of the first race still under protest, and race promoters in revolt over the sound of the cars.

The off-track strife has obscured the sporting promise provided by the season opener in Australia.

The race in Melbourne defied those naysayers worried about the reliability of the new V6 turbo engines by having 15 finishers and a welcome shake-up to the sport's pecking order; Sebastian Vettel out of the race early, Mercedes winning but with lingering engine concerns, and McLaren and even Williams back in the fight.

However the sport's apparent eagerness to attach a cloud to every silver lining was on show again immediately after the checkered flag fell at Albert Park.

Second-place finisher Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from his home race for exceeding the new limits on fuel flow, and his Red Bull team immediately appealed, blaming the problem on a malfunction of the FIA-approved sensor fitted to each car. The appeal will be held on April 14, after the third race in Bahrain.

Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz raised the stakes further by saying such disputes will be of more importance than money when it comes to deciding whether the energy drink maker stays in the sport beyond the short term.

"The question is not so much whether it makes economic sense but the reasons would be to do with sportsmanship, political influence, and so on," Mateschitz said in an interview with Austrian newspaper Kurier.

"In these issues there is a clear limit to what we can accept."

The other political spat emerging out of the first race was over the sound, or lack of sound, made by the new engines. Compared to the high-pitched roar of the old V8 engines, the new powertrains produced a muted purr.

The outgoing chief of the Australian Grand Prix, Ron Walker, even threatened to sue for breach of contract and said the engine sound will be a major talking point at a scheduled meeting of grand prix promoters next month. Walker is a strong ally of F1's commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone, who has always opposed the cleaner, greener engines and has used the issue as a wedge in his ongoing wrestle with the FIA for control of the sport.

Continue reading this story on the...