Scrapping F1 hybrid engines only way to stop Mercedes - Ecclestone

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes that 2017's new aero rules will not be enough to end Mercedes' domination of the sport, as he renews call to scrap hybrid engines.

Scrapping F1 hybrid engines only way to stop Mercedes - Ecclestone
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Bernie Ecclestone
World Champion Nico Rosberg celebrates
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Bernie Ecclestone
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads at the start of the race
Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38, leads Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31 and Romain Grosjean, Haas VF-16, at the start

F1 is preparing for a radical overhaul of its aero regulations this year, with it hoped that wider and faster cars will improve the spectacle and help shake up the order.

But Ecclestone thinks that the changes will not be enough. He suggests that until F1 scraps the turbo hybrid engines that he has long hated, then the situation will not get better.

"Red Bull believe they can beat Mercedes with better aerodynamics," said Ecclestone in an interview with Sport Bild. "However, I'm not so sure about that.

"Mercedes' advantage on the engine side still is large. Because of this we have to introduce new engine rules as soon as possible. It doesn't matter [what kind of engine rules]. The important thing is to rule out the hybrid engines.

"[FIA president] Jean Todt thinks they are the spirit of our times, and this may be true for normal road cars. But in F1, people want to see something special.

"They want to have noisy, powerful engines that can be managed only by the best drivers in the world. You don't put orthopedic shoes onto your pro football players, do you, just because these kinds of shoes are popular in everyday life?"

Ecclestone thinks that F1 is being hurt by over-regulation – because fans are getting turned off by the complexities of the sport.

"The rules must be changed: all of them," he added. "They are too complicated. We are in the entertainment business. But how are we supposed to entertain people when the audience doesn't understand a thing any more?

"Even the drivers don't know anymore what they can and cannot do on track. Sometimes I think the rule book just says: "Don't race!" But let them touch from time to time, so what? Let the drivers handle it themselves."

Sprint races

One idea that Ecclestone is open to is to shake up the race weekend format – by having two shorter sprint races.

"The attention period of young people is shorter than in the past," he said.

"Therefore it makes more sense to divide the race into two sprints. Two times 40 minute racing is more attractive to a TV audience than a boring grand prix."

Additional reporting by Stefan Ehlen

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