A firm slap to the face of the Formula 1 industry has been meted out by Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi's motorsport boss. Speaking with UK publication CAR Magazine, Ullrich slammed F1's high tech race-to-the-top.
"There’s a very good reason why we are not in F1," said Ullrich. 'There’s no relevance to the road.""Audi has always been engaged in motorsport that’s relevant to our customers such as rallying and touring cars, which brought quattro, FSI and TFSI to our road cars," he said. "This is why in 1999 we decided against F1. Instead we decided to take on the greatest race in the world. We went for Le Mans."
While some may scoff at Audi's use of Le Mans cars which look nothing like road cars, Ullrich shored up his argument further, by stating that Le Mans is a far better testing ground than Formula 1.
"Let me show you how," Ullrich told CAR Magazine. "At Le Mans, one of our cars will cover 325 miles more than an F1 car will cover in an entire season, our average speed including pits stops will be 20mph higher than an F1 car and we will use 42% less fuel"
"You cannot argue with those figures."
At the same time, while I was in London at the announcement of the C-X75, I spoke to Adam Parr, Chairman of Williams Formula 1 team. He told me directly that everything Williams had learned and will learn, will go into the C-X75 road car.
"There will be nothing that we will hold back from this car,” said Mr Parr. “We will be putting everything we have into it. It will be at the limits of what we can do, and really, the limits of what anyone has done in a road car.”
It seems Mr Ullich may have put his foot in it.
Ferrari, for example, has put into its road cars F1 technology, including decreases in gearbox shift times, ABS and ESC calibration as well as weight saving measures. McLaren has done the same with its MP4-12C.
What do you think? Do you feel Formula 1 has some relevance to road cars, or do you agree with Audi?