The FIA has agreed to launch a tender process for a new parallel engine formula. That is the claim of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, reporting that Bernie Ecclestone has managed to convince FIA president Jean Todt.
Ecclestone, backed by his old sparring partner Max Mosley, has made clear that he thinks the current 1.6 litre, V6 'power unit' rules are ruining F1 because they are expensive, Mercedes is dominating and car manufacturers are effectively running the sport politically. So, for 2017, the FIA will open a tender for an independent supplier of 2.2 litre, twin-turbo V6 engines, which will be an affordable EUR 6 million and fully competitive with Mercedes.
It follows Ecclestone's earlier plan to simply resurrect the old screaming V8s. "It (V8) was quite simple technology compared to what we have now, so the costs were significantly lower," Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said in Austin. "But the machinery (the power units) that we have now, they are incredible bits of equipment. I think what we need to do is rather than look backwards, look forwards as to what should the engine develop to be for the future. I think there are elements of what we have that are strong at the moment but I think it can be improved and I would certainly love to see the volume go back up and certainly the cost of development come down."
The 'parallel engine' solution would also potentially solve Red Bull's engine supply crisis, brought on by Mercedes and Ferrari in having blankly refused to sell them a 'power unit'. The new '2.2 litre' plan will, predictably, be opposed by the current manufacturers, but Horner hinted that the threat of a European Commission investigation could lead to a compromise.
Force India and Sauber are already complaining about 'anti-competitive' strategy groups and income distribution, so "does that mean that we could say that teams unwilling to supply engines is anti-competitive?" Horner said. "So everything could therefore end up in the Commission."
Auto Motor und Sport said the FIA is preparing to launch the tender as early as next week, with Cosworth and Ilmor tipped to launch application bids. (GMM)
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