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Noisy F1 engines won't lead to sponsor exodus, says Brown

McLaren CEO Zak Brown is sceptical that Formula 1 would face a sponsor exodus if the series reverted to ‘screaming’ engines in the future.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21, and the remainder of the field at the restart

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21, and the remainder of the field at the restart

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Red Bull is leading a push for F1 to move towards louder and more emotive engines from 2025 when new power unit rules are due to be introduced.

It wants F1 to ditch the quiet and economical current turbo hybrids in favour of something more exciting, which runs on environmentally-sustainable fuel.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner thinks the formula would tick F1’s green credentials on the fuel front, and be more exciting for fans thanks to engines that thrill again. 

Not everyone is convinced, though, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff fearing that major sponsors may not be happy to be associated with a series that was not viewed to be fully sustainable.

Brown, who had a long involvement in the series as a sponsor guru before joining McLaren, is not so sure that sponsors would be unhappy at what Red Bull has proposed.

“What’s most important is that Formula 1 is sustainable,” said Brown.

“You can get there a variety of different ways and I do not think sponsors, as long as Formula 1 is sustainable, are concerned over how you get to sustainability.

“So if it’s an ICE unit with sustainable fuels, or if it’s electric or hybrid, the important thing is that Formula 1 is leading edge technology and that sustainability is critically important to the sport and the world.”

Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, celebrates with team mates after Qualifying

Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, celebrates with team mates after Qualifying

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Brown suspects that Wolff’s stance may be skewed by the fact that his team is a full works effort, with road car manufacturers facing different sustainability challenges in both the short and long-term.

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“I think what you heard there was more a view of an OEM who probably wants the sustainability element to be consistent with how they go to market,” added Brown.

“I think what's important to the corporate partners is sustainability. I think they are less concerned about what the product is to get you there.

“So do I think fans and corporate partners would be turned off if Formula 1 was sustainable in a technology direction that was maybe different to the automotive industry?

"I do not think corporate partners and the fans would mind at all.

“But we do have to take into consideration the OEMs, because they’re a massive part of the sport, huge contributors, and we need them.”

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