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Wednesday April 16, 2014 MYT 12:58:12 AM
Wednesday April 16, 2014 MYT 12:59:15 AM
Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain drives during the first in-season test at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir south of Manama, April 8, 2014. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
(Reuters) - Formula One's new look makes no sense and is tantamount to self-harm, the head of the Italian Olympic Committee has said in comments highlighted by Ferrari as supportive of their own criticism.
"I speak on behalf of Italian sports people and fans, I don't like this Formula One and in my opinion it's delivered a product that has absolutely no sense," the Ferrari website quoted Giovanni Malago as saying.
"In my opinion, it's a form of self-harm.
"I hope the people who run the sport look again at the rules because the way Formula One is now, it has much less appeal and that's a shame as it is an extraordinary world," he added in words that will be music to the ears of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.
Montezemolo has accused the new-look sport, with V6 turbo hybrid power units replacing the old V8 engines, of turning flat-out racers into 'taxi drivers' by making fuel economy more of a feature.
Others have criticised the sound and a survey of Ferrari fans at the end of March, before a night race in Bahrain showed just how thrilling the new format could be, found 83 percent were unhappy with the changes.
However, more successful rivals have accused Ferrari and champions Red Bull of talking down the sport with negative comments.
"The race in Bahrain was quite simply brilliant to watch; one of the best in recent memory, in fact," said Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff in a preview for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
"This is what we go racing for and it was a strong advert for the sport: in particular under these new regulations. I think that in itself proves that we are moving in the right direction," added the Austrian.
Mercedes have won the first three races of the season, with Lewis Hamilton heading for China in search of his third in a row, while Ferrari and Renault-powered champions Red Bull have struggled.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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