'F1 should push fuel economy harder'

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IOL mot pic apr8 F1 Mercedes Paddy Lowe AFP Mercedes technical head Paddy Lowe says talk of relaxing the new rules is unrealistic. Picture: Patrick Baz

London, England - Formula One should be pushing for even greater fuel economy in 2015 rather than talking about 'completely unrealistic' ways of changing the rules, says Mercedes technical head Paddy Lowe.

The start of the season has been dominated by talk of tweaking the new rules to make cars louder and possibly relaxing the strict limit of 100kg of fuel per car per race - or making races shorter.

International Automobile Federation president Jean Todt told reporters at Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix that the governing body would seek to boost the noise of the new V6 turbos but made clear little else would change.

“It seems that Mercedes is stronger.”

“I don't have the power to say 'let's slow them down',” Todt said. “If they are quicker than the others I think it is a challenge for the other teams to catch them.”

Lowe liked the sound of that: “I think Jean has taken a very sensible line,” said Lowe, whose team has the dominant car and best performing V6 turbo power unit.

“There's been things talked about here and in the last weeks and days that are just completely unrealistic,” he added as he celebrated his team's third win in three races and second consecutive one-two.

“The first suggestion was that we need 110kg of fuel.”

And then, has anybody realised that you couldn't fit 110kg into these cars? Ah, oh dear.

“Oh, well. We'll make the races shorter. Can you imagine selling that concept to the public? It would be like saying we've decided that people aren't fit enough these days and marathons are only going to be 25 miles, not 26.

“The messaging around that cannot be contemplated. So I hope all of that could be put behind us.”

Lowe said talk of drivers having to ease off and save fuel to make sure they could finish the race was ridiculous.

He pointed out that Lewis Hamilton, Sunday's race winner, and team-mate Nico Rosberg had been racing flat-out from start lights to chequered flag and had more than enough in Malaysia.


Some teams, such as Mercedes-powered Williams, reportedly even started in Malaysia with less than the 100kg allowed to save weight and boost performance.

Lowe said it made no sense for a sport that prides itself on cutting-edge technology, and becoming more road relevant to mass carmakers, to water down the challenge.

“Formula one is about developing technology, setting stretched targets. I would say the 100kg per hour flow rate and 100kg of fuel for the race are actually perfectly judged numbers.

“If that's a stretch for other cars, it's a stretch they should be reaching out to. The nature of Formula One is to push technology to the limit and beyond. The idea of backing out of that for next year is absurd to me,” he said.

“If anything the point of Formula One would be to stretch it further. Maybe next year it should be 95 kg for the race.”


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