Seldom, if ever, in the 65-year history of Formula 1 has there been so much noise about its very absence. Indeed, such has been the outcry about the eerie silence of F1's new-gen power units - mostly, it must be said, from those who have not heard the latest engines 'live' - that there are clearly various agendas at play.
That the powertrains - hybrid 1600cc turbo engines delivering 750bhp, the same as their ancient 2400cc predecessors, but on 40 per cent less fuel over a race distance - would be immeasurably quieter than the unfettered V8s was known to all who voted in 2009 for a set of outline regulations framed by an FIA then presided over by Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone's long-standing associate.
Indeed, the F1 tsar not only had first-hand experience of the aural differences between V8 and turbo engines due to his (Brabham) driver Nelson Piquet taking the 1981 and '83 world championships with such units, but played active roles in F1 Commission meetings convened in the run-up to ratification of the regulations by the FIA World Motor Sport Council in December 2009. He is chairman, by right, of the Commission, and WMSC member, again by right.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken