Ecclestone denies describing F1 as a “crap product”

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone denies describing Formula One as a “crap product”.


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Jenson Button's 25-place penalty on a 20-man grid is further evidence that Formula One is disappearing up its own exhaust pipe (Daily Mail)

"I was talking to some engineers the other day and I told them that I was always pretty good at selling used cars — and I still am. But I told them they have given me a c**p product to sell."

F1 in chaos after Bernie Ecclestone backtracks on 'crap product' comment (The Guardian)

"Later he backpedalled when asked about his comments. The 84-year-old said: 'Really? I don’t know who said that. Bad quote.'"

Ecclestone sure Red bull won't quit (Autosport)

"I don't think so. I know Mr Mateschitz very well."

Fatal car crash on crowd in Austrian city of Graz (BBC)

"The square in Graz was hosting an event related to the Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix, which is being held nearby."

Hamilton says drivers are effectively gagged by their commercial interests (The Telegraph)

"It is very difficult for us drivers to say certain things, because we have sponsorship deals, partners, we’ve got to represent the sport in a certain way."

Alonso says he lost motivation at Ferrari (Reuters)

"I lost motivation last year. To be second or third for so many years with not really any progress...without motivation it is very difficult to work and I have all that back now."

Lewis: Spin not driver error (Sky)

"I thought I had just braked too hard really, but I braked the same as I did on the previous run."

Button sees the funny side of 25-place penalty (F1i)

"I think you have to have a smile on your face still when you see a 25-place penalty, it does make you smile when there’s only 20 cars in the grid."

Felipe Nasr Q&A: Sauber have made a breakthrough (F1)

"Probably people would love F1 cars to be a bit more scary – back in the time of V8s you could stand on the grid and feel the engines inside you. The relation of speed and sound is not as heavy now, but it's not true that it has become easier. "


Comment of the day

Another poor qualifying performance from Kimi Raikkonen prompted many to wonder whether Ferrari will retain him for next year:

If it really was as he says it was, that could be an excuse. But I think he is just him saving face.

The Lotus years have been fantastic, but his Ferrari return has disappointed so bad. Last year he had an excuse, with the car built around Alonso and all. I really believe Alonso’s only goal last year was to be better than Raikkonen to build himself up as the best driver so he can safely skip boat. But this year Raikkonen’s just embarrassing himself. And I say this as a Raikkonen fan.

If I was Arrivabene I would not take him on.
Finn G (@Floring)

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On this day in F1

One of F1’s most tragic seasons claimed another life on this day 45 years ago. Piers Courage, driving a De Tomaso run by Frank Williams, died in a fiery crash in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. The race was won by Jochen Rindt, who also died four months later at Monza.

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Keith Collantine
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53 comments on “Ecclestone denies describing F1 as a “crap product””

  1. Because of his penalty Jenson Button will start the race on Monday in Poland

      1. Would not surprise me if the Daily Mail turned the Button grid penalty on immigration.

        I cannot read anything from them, they should butt out, the penalties are fine reason being Merc could otherwise just change an engine, start from the back and still get a podium or very decent points.

  2. EVERYTHING is ridiculous these days.

    But some of the ridiculousness were consecuences of some badly needed limitations. It was equally ridiculous to have 1 engine for practice, 1 for qualy and 1 for the race. And using the same engine more than one weekend during the season is a good idea to keep the costs down, or at least try to get them down.

    But how do you inforce such a regulation? penalizing teams, obviously. Because if you don’t penalize them, they’ll run the engines to the extreme with no risk of anything. So there goes engine grid penalties. Then gearbox grid penalties. Now MGU penalties. Add it all up and you get the new ridiculous thing in F1.

    Same with DRS. We hated processional racing. It was ridiculous. They try to fix it, they get another kind of ridiculousness.

    How do you fix a sport that is ridiculous because they tried to fix the ridiculous?

    1. @fer-no65

      I actually liked quali-engines, cars that were built to hold exactly 300km and so on. Yes, it was economical madness, but exactly this madness contributed to the feeling of F1 being right on the edge of what was doable. That has been lost, and was about getting lost long before the number of engines got limited, when a series of changes to the points (and not least scrapping the void-results rule was huge in that) has put a much larger focus on reliability rather than speed.
      I don´t think there is much of a way back regarding this in todays world, though, so we live with what we have. Being “ridiculous” has seldomly (if at all) harmed F1 anyway.

    2. The funny thing is that the longevity regulations for the power package components designed to reduce costs in the sport will ironically cost the teams penalized even more money.

      The penalized teams will start further further back in the field making it much less likely that they will score points, therefore they will earn less prize money.

      To summarize, the teams use extra power unit parts, which costs more money. They start farther back and score less points which costs them more money. How in any system is that a cost reduction or a cost savings?

      1. yeah, it’s pretty amazing how willing people are to look the other way. Looking at the rules, they seem to suite the engine manufacturers/factory teams, and not the individual manufacturers. Also, if you look at the strategy group, it seems to be somewhat lopsided in favor of the factory which is currently dominating F1.

      2. What r u even talking about?So they should change the rules to give Renault and Honda 10 engines for the season?…Besides u don’t get the simple fact that even if the limit was 8 engines those two manufacturers would still get penalties!Don’t know if u did the maths but 6-7 engines in 8 races is SHOCKINGLY BAD!Makes me wonder how bad their dynos r…The other 80% of the field running relatively reliable engines r doing just fine and saving money;ask yourself:if Renault and Honda’s engines break down constantly with a limit of 4 engines how bad would they be if they had even more to play with?Bottom line is your rant about costs and grid positions makes very little sense

        1. Hi Lenny, not a rant on my part, merely an observation of the irony that a regulation designed to limit costs is creating more costs for some teams. I’m not sure what the answer is, but the current regulations might need a different approach in the future.

          The real problem is how amazingly bad Renault and Honda have got it with both reliability and performance. I’m sure they have spent a lot of time, money and resources trying to correct their issues however unsuccessfully. Now the teams running their engines are being punished exponentially.

  3. Kimi should do a Loeb and race on everything with wheels and an engine. To me he’s still one of the most amazing drivers ever. But even great champions should know when they have to leave.
    That being said, if Kimi leaves and Ferrari doesn’t try to hire the Hulk, I’ll be massively dissapointed. But I know the Porsche thing will be a deal-breaker.

    1. @carlitox he’s already done it, hasn’t he? and with mixed results (“mixed” being a pretty way to say bad).

      I suppose if Kimi goes, which it’s not far from happening, he’ll race in some rallies or just do a Hakkinen and stop racing altogether.

  4. Perhaps with Ricciardo open to moves, could he replace Raikkonen next year or the year after?

    1. Why Ricciardo? He’s not exactly lighting up the timing boards either anymore.
      Last year he had an amazing year but now I feel that was more to do with him being with the big team for the first time, being fresh and not having to worry about any mechanical problems.

      Now he’s experiencing the same woes as Vettel was last year AND his teammate on the other side of the garage and he’s nowhere.

    2. If RIC gets hired at Ferrari before HUL, I might actually kill myself…

  5. Why the heck is everyone being so emotional about penalties?Everybody agreed to them and were put in place with valid reasoning behind them,Renault and Honda doing a crap job reliability-wise isn’t what makes F1; now it seems everything is a chance to say this sport is crap when the only shocking thing is that two teams with manufacturer backing,150milion+ euros budgets, PhD educated engineers and backdoor royalty payments from the FOM get to the point of using 7 engines and 3 gearboxes in less than 10 races!Nobody expected Honda and Renault to be fast in only the 2nd year of the regs but bloody hell being reliable is the least u can do!!When running a marathon do u ask for your time to be stopped anytime u stop for a breather or rest?Thought so…

    1. Why is everyone being so emotional about penalties? because it’s happening to them.

      Everyone agreed the double points at Abu Dhabi last year, but had one team/driver lost the championship because of it, we’d have suffered a massive war of declarations about “how unfair that was” and how “F1 isn’t a sport anymore”.

      “But everyone agreed!!!!” you might say. Nevermind, they can always complain later.

      1. its all about bashing F1, people dont understand the fundamentals/history of F1 so instead of taking the time out to understanding how these regulation come about they start complaining/moaning because the dont understand,
        i dont blame them in a way but if you go back to how it was then it would be just boring race after boring race,
        so you cant please everyone.

      2. I wasn’t referring to the teams,I totally get a team complaining for things not going its way,afterall it is their job and livelihood,I would be very surprised if Red Bull was happy having a crap engine and Mateschitz saying “it’s cool,everything fine down here!”… What really annoys me r the supposed fans and journalists saying F1 is crap just because multi-billion dollar corporations like Honda and Renault can’t make an engine run more than 2 races despite being told before hand the target is at least 4!!!Fair enough the daily mail is a crap newspaper I wouldn’t read even if I was paid to but is F1 really disappearing up its exhaust hole because of penalties like the title says?It is almost like people expect the rules to be changed just because those 2 can’t keep up; if that were to happen those same people would complain saying it is unfair and F1 is crap because it’s too easy and can get the rules changed in your favour if u suck hard enough…Get what I mean?

        1. Exactly. The goalposts were set some time ago. If two teams are failing to score a goal, maybe they should consider hiring better strikers.

          Or, you know, have the media complain about the goalposts being silly and unfair.

          1. Funny thing is that all of these changes to engine numbers for the season, gearboxes etc. could all be averted with a budget limit. If the whole point of limited engines is to save money, which is good, surely a mechanism within a fixed budget where money would have to be deducted from say aero development to fund extra engines would both encourage teams to build/run reliable engines and give an out to teams who over use engines with less than stupid penalties. It’s an idea. But something must be done in a major way or else I have a funny feeling that we might be left with two engine makers in F1 and RBR and Mclaren left without engines…

          2. @clay – And how would a budget limit scheme be enforced? More penalties of course!

    2. People want rules according to their convenience, that doesn’t mean it should be changed. Had it been a team like manor, not many would have bothered with their penalties.

      F1 is not just about racing, its about engineering too, and this important part is failing Honda and Renault.

    3. I think part of this equation is that teams and power unit manufacturers expected the second year of this new engine formula to be one of more power with at least the same reliability. For Merc and Ferrari that has pretty much been the case. Last season a Renault powered car won three races and yet this year power and reliability is down compared to the others. Obviously this engine formula improving to be more on the edge while balancing the reliability with performance. Honda has been building V6 race engines for some time successfully and is struggling and of course so is Renault.

      Getting closer to Merc and still maintaining reliability can be done as Ferrari have proven. But it is not easy as Renault and Honda are proving with some embarrassment and damage to their respective reputations especially the longer it continues. I’d say the emotion is frustration over lack of performance and reliability. The penalties are a byproduct.

      1. we only have to look at the times the cars are doing this year to last around certain tracks,
        hard to believe some teams have gone backwards from last year,
        nothing has changed except the new rules on the nose,
        is this the problem? not enough airflow cars running bigger in takes?
        and Merc with their Superior have only gained a few thousandths of a sec on most tracks,
        or is it the new tires which are causing this?

        1. Maybe they need a token system for extra engines, gearboxes , track testing time, wind tunnel. Etc. if u use an extra engine u have less windtunnel and track time.and a fixed price(big price) for tokens to be sold,so big teams whit money can buy tokens from smaller teams who dont have money anyway to use all tokens can get some good funds….

  6. Bernie was obviously misquoted. Bernie said that what the engineers planned FOR F1 was in the end a crap product, not F1 itself. Bernie played a dangerous game with such statements, as he incurs the risk of devaluing F1 and himself.

    1. since the introduction of V6 engines Berrie has been sucking rotten eggs,
      he is the one that is playing the devil’s advocate,
      the fans are complaining yet he keeps feeding them with inaccurate info which is not helping F1,
      its like, i will kill it first then die happy. why because i can.

  7. People need to leave Kimi alone. Why do they feel the need to call for his retirement? Esp his fans! How can you turn your back on your fav driver? People need to get a grip!

    1. ‘LEAVE KIMI ALONE!!! he knows what he’s doing…’
      sorry, just couldn’t resist it… ;)

    2. Nobody’s turning their back on their favourite driver. This is the 2nd year in a row he’s under-performing. Now that he’s got the 2nd best car on the grid, there really isn’t any excuse for him to lag behind Vettel(the newcomer) so much.

      These criticisms are quite justified, even from us Kimi fans.

    3. How can you turn your back on your fav driver?

      It didn’t happen overnight.

      His last pole was at the French GP 2008… Think about that.

      1. While his team mates have all been sticking the car to the pole position, right?

        1. With regards to Kimi, he’s never really been that good in qualifying trim – he has a total of 16 pole positions to his name in his entire career (the same as Massa, as it happens), and that is despite driving some very competitive cars at the peak of his career.

          In the past, though, he was more effective at setting his car up in such a way as to be able to drive closer to the limit in race trim, and therefore could make up ground during the race.

    4. Bad driver in a good car, it’s a waste.

    5. @mim5

      Why do they feel the need to call for his retirement?

      He’s taking a seat in a team that could potentially take the fight to Mercedes, but he’s not performing. It’s not so much that people want to see Kimi gone as that they want to see two Ferrari’s fighting for wins.

  8. Since 2011, in my opinion it has been so obvious that drivers cant speak out. Pirelli has been crap since day one. I’m sure many drivers says so behind closed doors.Please dont defend Pirelli. They were asked for a tyre that degrades but NOBODY asked for these crap tyres. Tyres where the drivers cant get heat into them. Where they dont last and have zero grip with poor laptimes and drivers complaining. Tyres where to make them last 10-15-20 laps drivers have to cruise around, waiting behind the car infront . Tyres that if you drive like a race car driver the tyres are finished after 2-3 LAPS. These are not racing tyres after all these years. The only thing they are capable of making is a tyre that burns out but is detrimental to racing.

  9. Tragedy and comedy all in one round-up. I was shocked to read the news of a car driving into the crowd in Graz, but I found “James Bonar from London” quite hilarious.

  10. Somebody has to start at the back, I don’t see the problem. A DT isn’t the end of the world either.

  11. Why is Bernie calling himself a product?

  12. ColdFly F1 (@)
    21st June 2015, 8:53

    I really believe Alonso’s only goal last year was to be better than Raikkonen to build himself up as the best driver so he can safely skip boat.

    Seriously – and that made COTD!

    1. I was thinking the same. As if he needed any more advertising. Honda was set on bringing Alonso from the moment they’ve decided to come back.
      As for his and Kimi’s duel, it’s obvious that when you are not fighting for the championship, only thing you can do is to at least try to be better than your teammate.

      1. Honda wanted either Hamilton, Alonso or Vettel.

  13. In the past, a change for an engine was 10 grids; now it’s 25. I don’t think this is anywhere near ridiculous, I believe this is more or less reasonable, and I cannot say the same thing on RBR or Mc-Honda.

    1. The penalty for an engine (the most stressed component) change is still 10 grid places…It is changing other elements as well that made it 25: gearbox,turbo,battery,control electronics,kers etc…Not only the engine but Honda and Renault couldn’t even get the basic least stressed elements of the package to last the set amount of time

  14. I do think F1 is a crap product, but its the big teams treating it as a business that’s causing it. We need to turn F1 back from a marketing exercise to a race series.

    Remember the era of F1, after the turbos went the first time round? I loved it. We had flexible engine rules that allowed pretty much any configuration – we had V8’s and V10’s, while Ferrari stuck to their V12. Lambo entered an engine that could have been good when it eventually got reliable and even privateer engine builders. Even Yamaha and Peugeot entered – they were awful, but they tried!
    We had no DRS and cars were able to draft each other – overtaking was difficult, but the better drivers never seemed to struggle that much. We hero worshipped the best of the best, because it looked like they were wrestling viscous animals and winning. Remember Mansell and Prost in those godawful Ferraris? They likened them to trucks and still won races at circuits that rewarded power.

    I’d like to see a return to flexible engine rules – how about…
    Max 1.6l – less is fine.
    Made of xyz materials.
    Turbos are fine. Generous boost limit.
    ERS is allowed (you can buy complete units from other teams or manufacturers if you wish), no more than X KW from the electric motor.
    100Kg per race of fuel.
    Gearboxes form part of the “power unit” for rules purposes.
    2 races per power unit, or you get a stop go during the next race.

    So, if a back yard engine maker thinks they can make a flat twin 1.0 make enough power when coupled to Mercedes’ ERS then theres nothing to stop them – if another wants to make a mega powerful but enormously complex V32 that spends most of the race turned down to save fuel but blitzes quali, then equally theres nothing to stop them making an exhaust pipe work of art. We need more engine makers thinking F1 is worth it and making the cars more diverse. A by product is that engines would be cheaper if there is more competition – giving the smaller teams a boost.

    Aerodynamic and chassis rules tweaked to make front wings simpler and allow following other cars. Limited Ground effects. (I think some aero rules are already being addressed.). DRS banned. Power steering banned. All team to car communication banned except pit boards, except in an emergency.
    Lets make the drivers heroes again and make them manage the cars according to readouts on the dash. F1 is far too engineer driven during the races at the moment.

    Make it all about the racing, then the spectacle takes care of itself.

    And for pities sake, stop banning every tiny innovation. If its within the rules, it deserves to be allowed.

    1. I forgot to say – engine development unlimited as long as each power unit completes 2 consecutive races without alteration.

    2. Really sorry to break your little bubble but we r in 2015,the world has changed and we can’t go back to your beloved 1985 lol!I was more or less agreeing with what u were saying in relation to makong manufacturers develop the most expensive bits and privateer being able to purchase them but ban all radio communication?Unlimited engine development?Unlimited boost?2 races per engine?…R U CRAZY?To be honest I don’t mind all the engine regulations,penalties or any other thing simply because I am a fan and not an engineer,the one and only thing I want to see is close competition,full stop!How to obtain than?Have patience and let this set of rules mature instead of everyone writing manifestos of how this and that should be…Some fans think F1 is the politics regulating their lifes rather than a sport

      1. If you give open engine rules they all eventually end up with the same best solution. In F1 they all ended up with V10 engines. Even allowing for open engine types now within the framework they have now they will all have v6 turbos. In WEC Toyota will bin their v8 and I bet a V4 like Porsche and same hybrid type will be used, if they stick to petrol.

        1. First, I said generous boost limit – not no limit.
          My problem with the engine regs is that if you mess up, as Renault undoubtedly has, there is no way back. No manufacturer is going to come in now, and you can’t blame Renault for wanting out. They made a mistake but have no chance to fix it.

          Opening up development and more relaxed reliability rules resolve this. The penalties levied at the moment are stupid, and make the engine makers look like the more evil twin of Bernie.

          We need to attract engine makers to F1, not send the message that you can spend a fortune developing a product which, if flawed, you wont be able to fix and you’ll be penalised until you leave.

          I’m all for engineering, but having drivers constantly told what settings to use as they drive is a turn off. Once the lights go out, the drivers should be on their own except in the case of emergencies.
          All the info can be easily displayed on the dash.

          1. This whole thing of attracting new manufacturers to F1 like it would save the day is meaningless. There r 4 manufacturers for 20 cars which is plenty enough,there is no need for 10 manufacturers, it would just be plain stupid and besides there r plenty other forms of racing to play with, F1 is not the beginning and end of life. Second thing is that the engines r not frozen,the tokens r a great idea!Manufacturers will be allowed to change 20 to 50% of the engine depending on the year.Even in 2019 teams will be able to change 5-10% of it and it plenty if u consider that they will have 5 years of experience and data to work with. Unlimited development made people complain, total freeze last time around made people complain, now that there is a compromise solution people r still complaining!!!Sometimes i wish people read the rules and thought about the reasoning behind them with their brains rather than the ones of the biased journalists!Like i said not all is bad in F1, it is simply the immaturity of the rules and the lack (so far) of close competition that is making all this manifestos of F1 pop up everyday

          2. My problem with the engine regs is that if you mess up, as Renault undoubtedly has, there is no way back. No manufacturer is going to come in now, and you can’t blame Renault for wanting out. They made a mistake but have no chance to fix it.

            Opening up development and more relaxed reliability rules resolve this.

            I don’t see any sign of this tbh. They can change anything without spending tokens if they can make a case for reliability, fuel efficiency or cost, and it’s a certainty that FIA would jump at the chance to improve the Renault or Honda engines.

            The Renault and Honda organisations have to learn how to perform, is the issue. Structure, leadership, process. The things Ross Brawn, Adrian Newey, Andy Cowell, James Allison, Pat Symonds have shown.

            It’s a learning process, we have to give them time. It’s supposed to be difficult.

  15. ‘Really? I don’t know who said that. Bad quote.'”

    Alzheimers disease is a pig isn´t it? ;-)

  16. A lot of people in the comments here, along with the TV commentators, are complaining about the engine component penalties. I’m among the fans who are not pleased with the regulation but I understand why it was introduced and I believe that rules need to be enforced equally and consistently. That said, I’m all for keeping the penalties in place because I can see a wealthy team like Ferrari, Mercedes, or Red Bull abusing their power unit limits if it was scrapped. I would prefer to see the penalty added to a driver’s race finish time instead of the confusing grid position and/or drive through and/or stop and go during the race.

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