Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, 2011

Whitmarsh: V6 engines “the right thing” for F1

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, 2011
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, 2011

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said yesterday’s decision to change the future F1 engine rules was “the right thing to do”.

Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes media call he said the decision had the backing of all the F1 engine manufacturers:

“I’m happy that we have agreement between the manufacturers – they have all agreed and endorsed this, which is extremely positive – the teams have agreed it and it was agreed overwhelmingly within the F1 Commission yesterday

“So I think that’s positive because, clearly, there’s been a range of different opinions expressed and felt so to achieve a consensus amongst all the parties, I think, was very positive.”

Whitmarsh said the decision to postpone the new rules to 2014 and switch from a four- to six-cylinder configuration would encourage the existing engine builders to stay in the sport and should attract others in the future:

“In the long run we should make sure we are attractive to a range of automotive manufacturers. They will, according to their marketing needs and priorities, come in and out of Formula 1 periodically, which is what has happened over the history of Formula 1.

“The world’s gone through an economic crisis, the automotive industry had the largest recession in its entire history. And I think our timing was perhaps a little bit premature and perhaps it was a little bit too condensed.

“So I think the right thing to do is to ensure that you keep what you’ve got which I think we have been able to do with this agreement.

“I hope, in the future, for the sake of Formula 1, that new manufacturers find the regulations relevant, interesting and stimulating, and consequently at some time in the future come in as well.”

But he denied McLaren might build an engine of their own, despite having begun production of their own road car, the MP4-12C.

Whitmarsh said: “There isn’t any temptation to do so.

“Formula 1 is an incredibly powerful marketing opportunity and it’s an area that automotive companies have seen has been beneficial for brand exposure and brand differentiation. But the cost of Formula 1 is such that you need to amortise that over millions of cars per annum, not thousands.

“McLaren’s maximum planned output certainly for the foreseeable future is no greater than 4,500 units per year. So it really doesn’t make sense to use a marketing tool like Formula 1 for the engine.”

2011 F1 season

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