Formula 1 'too quiet' says race organiser after season opener
Nico Rosberg wins the first race of 2014 but a late disqualification and noise row overshadow the event
THE season-opening Australian Grand Prix was an eventful race strewn with crashes and retirements, and the drama continued well after the cars had finished racing.
Pre-seaon favourite Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire after just three laps, although his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg went on to win the race.
Last year's champion, Sebastian Vettel, also failed to finish and his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the race in second, was controversially disqualified hours later because of a problem with his fuel load.
That lifted McLaren drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button up to second and third and gave the British team an early lead in the constructor's championship.
However, the delay in disqualifying Ricciardo makes the sport a laughing stock in the eyes of Kevin Eason of The Times. "For all its smug, smart, intellectual brilliance, F1 is a basket case of the first order. To keep fans waiting to discover the result of a Grand Prix they had watched almost six hours before is humiliating and, well, plain daft," he writes.
But if that wasn't bad enough there was more to come on Monday when it was claimed that the Australian race organisers were unhappy with the new F1 cars. The Guardian reports that the organisers believe their contract may have been breached because the new engines "were not loud enough".
Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief executive, Andrew Westacott, said the new quieter engines detracted from the sports "sexiness". Moaning that he did not need to wear earplugs in the pit lane, Westacott said: "We pay for a product, we’ve got contracts in place, we are looking at those very, very seriously because we reckon there has probably been some breaches."
He likened the new engines to "harpsichords in a chamber orchestra" reports the Guardian, which adds: "He expects hardcore racing fans in Europe will be even less impressed by the quieter cars."