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Mercedes almost quit over engines

Wednesday 09-April-2014 13:31

This year's pace-setters Mercedes considered walking away from F1 before the sport opted to swap to turbo hybrid engines.

During the days of 2.4-litre V8 engines, Mercedes were on the fence about their F1 participation. according to Daimler's Thomas Weber, the man in charge of research and development.

"The key challenge for the future is fuel economy and efficiency and with the change in regulations F1 is the spearhead for development," he told BBC Sport.

Pressed as to whether Mercedes would have walked away had F1 not committed to the efficiency formula, he said: "I think so, yeah because we had the discussion.

"We had at different times the challenge to discuss F1 with the (Daimler) supervisory board.

"We had hard discussions. And it was always - and even more so when it came to the later years - harder to explain why we were using naturally aspirated engines.

"Now with these new regulations I can clearly convince the supervisory board that the (F1 team) are doing exactly what we need - downsizing, direct injection, lightweight construction, fuel efficiency on the highest possible level, new technologies and combining a combustion engine with an e-motor hybrid."

Weber also hit back at claims by Ferrari president Luca Di Montezmolo that fans are not enjoying F1's fuel-flow restriction as they cannot understand it.

The Daimler man said it was a "stupid discussion" and that if fans didn't grasp it that was a "communication issue."

As for the debate over engine noise, he said: "We can demonstrate to the public that it is still emotional, even if the noise level is a little bit quieter.

"Of course we can look if there is a little bit more possible. But in the meantime all the road cars are going for turbos, downsizing, so even a Porsche now sounds similar. So people learn it. That's easy."

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