Could Bernie be looking to devalue the sport?
Mar.29 (GMM) Amid all the moaning about F1's lower volume, the conspiracy theorists are now beginning to raise their voices in the F1 paddock.
Bernie Ecclestone has been the staunchest critic of the sound being made by F1's new turbo V6s, causing some to wonder if he is deliberating trying to devalue the sport.
"He will then orchestrate the purchase of the majority share in the business at a reduced price and remain in charge for the rest of eternity," proposed one such theorist, Daily Mail correspondent Jonathan McEvoy.
McEvoy, however, is not alone.
Also vocally critical of the new, greener and quieter F1 has been Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz.
Michael Schmidt, the Auto Motor und Sport correspondent, asked Ecclestone in Malaysia if he thinks the Austrian billionaire might also be trying to drive F1's price down ahead of an audacious takeover bid.
The logic of the takeover rumours are obvious, given the ferocity with which known allies including Ecclestone, Mateschitz and world champion Sebastian Vettel have been slamming the new F1.
But Christian Horner, although also in the Red Bull camp and constantly touted as a potential long-term successor to Ecclestone, seemed to count himself out of the conspiracy.
"It (F1) is Bernie's product and he has to sell it. F1 isn't rubbish," the Briton is quoted by The Times newspaper.
But Ecclestone hit back: "May I remind you that this is not my product. I did not want this, so you can't blame me."
Also asked by Schmidt if he is aware his criticism could be driving down F1's takeover price, Ecclestone responded: "I'm not happy with what we have now.
"Why do we have these rules? Because they were written by engineers.
"Don't get me wrong, these engines are wonderful pieces of engineering. But I don't think it's what the sport needed."