Gian Carlo Minardi has slammed as “absurd” F1’s efforts to turn up the volume of the new turbo V6 engines.
Mercedes fitted an unseemly, trombone-shaped exhaust to its car at this week’s Barcelona test, but it failed to deliver the sound boost that many in F1 – including Bernie Ecclestone and race promoter Ron Walker – are seeking. Minardi, the founder of Faenza based team Toro Rosso’s original guise, is not impressed. “I find it absurd that the focus is on the noise, when it definitely is not the primary problem,” he said. 66-year-old Minardi said teams should stop the efforts to turn up the volume and focus instead on being “more competitive”. “In Spain we saw a gap of 49 seconds between Mercedes and the first pursuer, Red Bull. An abyss,” he told his official website.
Indeed, many are predicting that Mercedes’ advantage is so big that the German team could go on to win every single race on the 19-grand prix 2014 calendar. A 100 per cent winning record is unprecedented in F1 history, but even Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda acknowledges that it is a possibility in 2014. “At the moment it looks like it,” the F1 great told Osterreich newspaper. “I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I am calm,” said Lauda. “I think if you have the pace advantage that we had at a circuit like Barcelona, then the others need at least four to five races to catch up.”
And he thinks new championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who has won the last four grands prix on the trot, is likely to beat Nico Rosberg to the 2014 title. “Lewis is in a league that I have rarely seen,” said Lauda. “Flawless. Beating him at the moment I would say is almost impossible, but thanks to his tactical approach I think Nico can get closer.”