Lowdon fears noise reduction may affect sponsors
21 March 2014 – Marussia Chief Executive Officer Graeme Lowdon says that Formula 1 faces losing some of its 'wow factor' following the switch to 1.6 litre V6 power units – a move which may potentially affect sponsorship deals.
Criticism was directed towards the noise produced by the new power units following last weekend's Australian Grand Prix, with Bernie Ecclestone among those believing the sound was not impressive.
Lowdon does not think that fans will be hugely deterred by the regulation change but worries that sponsors may be put off if Formula 1 has lost 'something very special'.
"The sport's contact with most fans is via television, and the noise doesn't affect that in any way," Lowdon told the Press Association. "There was some exciting racing, so in terms of a TV spectacle I don't think the noise impacted on that at all.
"The biggest impact with regard to the noise is in the commercial job we do, with the noise reinforcing Formula 1 is another world. That has always worked to our advantage in the commercial arena, in that people realised there was something very special about Formula when they heard that violent noise.
"In terms of what the fans hear now, it's a noise that has much more texture to it in that they're hearing tyres locking up for the first time and things like that. For the fans who were at the circuit on Sunday, there was a new set of things to listen to, so it's much more textural than we've had before.
"But the biggest potential change is that wow factor, which is important. Every team up and down this pitlane will be taking very important key decision-makers into the garages, and it's probably that more than anything else where there is an impact."