Even Niki Lauda admits he is not sure what is the future of F1's engine regulations. Bernie Ecclestone revealed last week that he intends to propose during Thursday's Strategy Group meeting that the sport axes the current turbo V6 rules.
He wants screaming V8s or V10s with 1000 horse power to return, and said whether or not the governing FIA agrees with his proposal or not is irrelevant. "Well we have six (votes) so if we have four teams want to do that, that's ten. There's 18 votes so that's the majority," Ecclestone told Forbes.
Mercedes, so dominant in 2014 at the start of the new turbo era, has warned that if the engine rules are dramatically changed then it would pull out of F1. Ecclestone is quoted by F1 business journalist Christian Sylt: "I think they will do that whenever it suits them anyway because we have noticed in the past the manufacturers do that but I would be surprised if they did."
A separate report in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport surmised that the current regulations are undoubtedly complex, as Renault and Ferrari so badly faltered in 2014. The rules also limit their scope to quickly catch up, and make the entry of marques like Porsche and Audi unlikely as the development 'freeze' becomes increasingly more restrictive.
Smaller teams, meanwhile, are under increasing cost pressure due to the debut of the expensive technology. One source said the FIA is even powerless to set a 'fixed price' of a customer V6. "That would be an intervention in the market," the source is quoted as saying. "If only one manufacturer does not agree, the FIA would have legal trouble." Ecclestone said: "The trouble is that when this engine was thought up, nobody thought about the side effects."
Lauda, Mercedes' team chairman, admitted he is not sure what is going to happen this Thursday and then beyond 2015. "Next year, the engine regulations stay the same as they are now," said the Austrian great. "For 2016, I cannot guarantee anything." (GMM)