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April 27, 2017

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F1 boss wants the volume turned up

SEPANG, Malaysia -- Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone fired off one of his trademark one-liners on Friday as he sampled the sport's controversial new, quiet engines in person.

The diminutive Ecclestone, 83, trackside for free practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix, said the cars sounded better than on TV but still needed a louder roar.

"It's a little better than we thought so if we can just get it up a little bit more than that — I wish I could get it up — then we will be all right," quipped the white-haired billionaire.

"All the promoters are complaining, saying the same thing, so we have to see a little bit what's going to happen," he told Sky Sports.

"It sounds terrible on TV. The problem isn't that, the problem is for the people who are coming here and the whole atmosphere."

Ecclestone has been one of the leading critics of the new hybrid engines that purr down the track, a vast change from the deafening scream that previously characterized F1.

Promoters are up in arms over the quiet engines, fearing they will hit ticket sales, while world champion Sebastian Vettel bluntly used a four-letter swear-word to describe the new sound of F1.

Ecclestone is famous for his off-the-cuff remarks. After proposing to his third wife Fabiana Flosi, the 1.6 meters tycoon joked: "I didn't have to get down on one knee."

And when asked in 2012 how much the Singapore Grand Prix's contract extension was worth, Ecclestone smiled and said: "A gentleman never talks about money or last night."

However it is not all laughs for Ecclestone, who next month will face bribery charges in Germany.

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