McLaren boss Ron Dennis urges squabbling F1 to respect the future
McLaren chief defends 'new F1' as Ferrari and Ecclestone call for change; "We owe it to the young people of the future" warns Ron as bickering continues
By Pete Gill and Craig Slater. Last Updated: 06/04/14 4:00pm
McLaren chief Ron Dennis has urged F1 not to reverse course and retain a "socially-responsible position" after Bernie Ecclestone described the sport's new format as "unacceptable".
On a day of high drama - and even higher politicking - off the track in Bahrain, a heavyweight summit convened between FIA President Jean Todt, Ecclestone and Luca di Montezemolo concluded with both F1's commercial supremo and Ferrari's President calling for the sport to return to 'what F1 used to be'.
According to Montezemolo, making his first appearance of the year in an F1 paddock, F1 has become "too complicated" and the onus on drivers to save tyres and engines is "not Formula 1".
But Dennis is adamant F1 is doing the right thing in embracing greener technology, adding that the sport must not abandon its revolution and road-car relevancy with a sudden reversal barely two months after the new era dawned.
"There has to be a time, and I think that time is now, when we take a more socially-responsible position. The simple fact is that we live in a world where resources are depleting and the environment is being threatened. Yes, we are Formula 1, yes we are the pinnacle of motorsport, but being the pinnacle of motorsport means we have to have the latest technology," the McLaren chief executive trenchantly told Sky Sports News during an extended interview in the Bahrain paddock.
"Reluctantly, I admit, the teams and engine manufacturers have embraced the challenge of effectively competing in a grand prix with two-thirds less fuel than before and developing hybrid systems of the future. These KERS and ERS systems are incredibly complex and the intensity of the development that has gone into them masks the fact that this is the future."
Ferrari's antipathy to the 'new F1' has inevitably been linked to their struggles so far to keep pace with the frontrunners, but an indignant Montezemolo denied the team's opposition was motivated by self-interest.
"Ferrari has to be more competitive with the new rules," he told Sky Sports News. "I'm pushing for the rules to be competitive, it's not a question of changing the rules now but for the future."
Dennis, however, is convinced that vested interests have played a pivotal part in the recent outpouring of criticism against the sport's evolution.
"There is a very obvious short-termism, driven often by a lack of competitiveness, that certain teams have and they use anything to try to address their shortcomings," he cautioned.
"We are not the most competitive team at the moment but we know what the challenge is and that's the challenge of F1 - we have our own vision of engine development but these rules were made with everyone having an input and they weren't lacking in support at the formation.
"We have to get on with it and realise, as a sport, we owe it to the young people of the future."