The new engine regulations are understood to be at the heart of the decision by British driver Lewis Hamilton to move next year from McLaren to Mercedes. The change in engine regulations was expected to give Mercedes an opportunity to improve performance as it would be a fresh start for the teams.
The new engine regulations were developed by F1's governing body (FIA) and involve replacing the current 2.4-litre V8s with more environmentally- friendly 1.6-litre turbo-charged V6 engines. The plan is strongly opposed by Ecclestone.
"I listened to the noise of the engines in (Ferrari's headquarters at) Maranello the other day, the new engine and the old engine, and even (Ferrari chairman) Luca di Montezemolo said it sounded terrible and didn't like it," says Ecclestone. He feels FIA president, Jean Todt, "will get rid of it. I think Luca is also saying we should suspend it for two or three years. I think it is sensible to get rid of it and stick with what we have got. It is much cheaper than the new one. It probably could be 30% of the price."
The Formula One Promoters Association (FOPA), which represents all of the circuits, last year threatened to drop F1 over fears that the new engines could make the cars sound so different it would drive spectators away.
The circuits dropped their threat after the FIA agreed to raise the power of the engines from its original proposal of 1.6 liter, 4-cylinder engines. "I blame the FIA for this stupid engine formula," says Ecclestone. "It really wasn't his (Todt's) fault, (former FIA president Max) Mosley started the engine and then he got carried away… Todt really hasn't interfered with us. He has been travelling the world and seeing all the different federations but he hasn't bothered us."