The world of Formula One racing is being torn in two. On one side are forces like Renault and the FIA who want to see F1 moving towards more environmentally conscious means of propulsion. On the other are parties like Ferrari, the race promoters and Bernie Ecclestone that are more concerned about abandoning the elements that make grands prix the spectacle that they are.
The FIA recently approved a new engine formula that will see the sport switching from its current V8 engines to V6 turbos, which will also cut the rev limiter from 18,000 rpm down to 15,000. As a result, the commercial side of the sport is growing concerned that the screeching noise that has become associated with F1 racing will mean lower ticket sales. And ticket sales are the only way for local racers promoters to raise the millions demanded by Bernie Ecclestone for the right to host a grand prix.
In fact, according to ESPN, some of the race promoters are threatening to jump ship and hold IndyCar racers instead. With the series once again reunited and new engine suppliers expected to move in, Indy is hoping it can retake its place as the next viable alternative to F1.
For his part, Ecclestone can hardly blame them, and says that if the new engine regulations result in a drop in ticket sales, he could hardly hold the race promoters at fault. So what recourse would he have? Sue the FIA for loss of revenue. At this point, it could prove little more than saber-rattling – particularly since this isn't the first time the sport has gone with turbocharged V6 engines – but then again, F1 is a bigger spectacle these days than it was in the past.