Formula One: Ferrari and Red Bull seek engine changes
ABU DHABI, Nov 22, 2014 (AFP) – Ferrari and Red Bull are demanding major changes to Formula One engine rules next year after Mercedes’ domination of this season’s world championship.
Ferrari and Red Bull want rule changes to cut costs and improve their competitiveness. But team champions Mercedes are not keen on plans to allow their rivals limited in-season engine development and have indicated they will stubbornly defend their current advantage.
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner told reporters that Formula One had to consider ditching the current turbo powered 1.5 litre V6 engine only introduced this year. And he was backed by Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci.
"Definitely we need to look at something different for 2016," said Mattiacci.
"In terms of power unit, and in terms of regulation [for] 2015, it is clear we will have to – at the moment – accept the status quo, but definitely we are not going to accept the status quo for 2016."
Horner whose team won the title every year from 2010 to 2013, said: "Maybe we need to even go as far as looking at a different engine – a new engine. Maybe still a V6, but maybe a more simplified V6 that controls the cost – cost of development, cost of supply to a team and to the privateer teams.
"I think that’s something we need to have a serious discussion about during the next Strategy Group."
The sport’s influential Strategy Group and the F1 Commission are to meet next week.
Red Bull’s Renault engines have not produced a competitive level of power this year letting Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg monopolise races.
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff was wary of calls for change.
"We are all talking about costs and, if you would open up the regulations in the way it has been described, that clearly means you don’t care about costs.
"That would be like digging a grave for Formula One. We have spent considerable amounts in the development of the power unit," Wolff said.
"I think we need to be sensible and we need to come up with solutions that enable the small teams to survive and which still enable the big teams to showcase the technology.
"Reversing everything, changing the format, changing the engines would just increase costs. It is the opposite for what we need for Formula One at the current stage."
As Hamilton and Rosberg prepare for Sunday’s title deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, half of the F1 paddock has been more concerned by the sport’s cash crisis.
The Caterham and Marussia teams went into administration last month and three others talked of a boycott at the US Grand Prix as they pushed for an overhaul of prize money distribution.
Caterham raised funds to-join the fray in Abu Dhabi and are seeking investment to survive into 2015, but Marussia has folded.
In Brazil, Horner suggested that the sport should consider a return to last year’s engines to save money. Renault and Mercedes said they would quit F1 if that happened.
"It’s unsustainable for any of the manufacturers to keep spending at the level we are," Horner told reports on Friday.
"So we should maybe look at simplifying the engine because if the development costs stay as they are then we won’t attract new manufacturers in. We have to ensure the sport is attractive to new manufacturers."
Wolff argued that Honda is returning to F1 next year as engine suppliers for McLaren, replacing Mercedes.
"I fully agree we need to look at costs," he said. "But you can’t turn time back."
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies