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Mercedes backs Red Bull in push to change engine rules

  • Published on 14 Sep 2017 15:55
  • comments 11
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Mercedes has now backed Red Bull in pushing for a change to the engine rules for 2018. Earlier, with swathes of penalties raining confusion over the order of the grids at recent races, Red Bull's Christian Horner argued for a change for next year.

In 2018, drivers are scheduled to make do with just 3 engines for the whole season rather than the current four, but Horner argues for the status quo. Mercedes team chairman Lauda agrees that the scheduled change from 4 to 3 engines is "a mistake by the strategy group".

"Everyone said that the engines could only be cheaper for customers if we build less," he told Auto Motor und Sport. "But we have known for a long time now that nothing will be saved with the 3 engines," Lauda added. "Because the development on the test stands actually costs more."

Another major controversy surrounds how the FIA penalises the drivers after their allocation of engines is exhausted for the season. Even F1 chief executive Chase Carey admits that the grid penalty confusion is not ideal. "The penalty structure clearly has gotten to a place that nobody says is functioning the way we like," he is quoted by AFP news agency in Singapore.

"Then we had the better part or half the grid with some sort of penalty that nobody could understand at Monza. Technology is an important part of it but you don't want it to be a sport about engineering first and foremost," Carey added. "You want it to be a sport about drivers and great competition that utilises state of the art competition." (GMM)

Replies (11)

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  • What the F1 teams should do is agree to all take 2 new engines one week, resulting in everyone on the grid getting the same number of grid position drops and thus the result in qualifying will carry through to the race.

    The part number restrictions have not worked. I remember chatting to Frank Williams one night in late 2013 and he said that the engine package was costing more per engine than previous years and was therefor overall more expensive.. I think he said by £4M, mind you they weren't paying for their own KERS going forwards so I'm sure the impact wasn't quite as big.

    Hopefully Liberty are going to be more sensible and responsive when such blunders are discovered in the future....

    • + 0
    • Sep 14 2017 - 16:29
    • Hombibi

      Posts: 137

      I think all these restrictions is counter to what you actually want in "the pinnacle of motorsport". And it does not seem to work either: teams have a budget and will spend it as long as they can justify it. They will just find other means to spend it, on simulators for instance...
      So give them more freedom to innovate, let them spend what they can justify and level the field somewhat with other means..

      • + 0
      • Sep 14 2017 - 20:05
    • kngrthr

      Posts: 203

      "What the F1 teams should do is agree to all take 2 new engines one week, resulting in everyone on the grid getting the same number of grid position drops and thus the result in qualifying will carry through to the race. "

      Pure Genius.....

      lets do it. we can save the season this way

      • + 1
      • Sep 14 2017 - 23:00
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,168

      Mercedes or Ferrari would take advantage of that agreement. Mercedes has already shown that it will do anything. Oil burning rules ... gentlemens agreements. They have been burning oil since 2014 and yet their customer engines haven't got this feature I believe. so why is the FIA not looking at that issue? The stranglehold that Merc and Ferrari have at the moment is unhealthy for the sport since it's artifical. Both mcLaren and RedBull have the same issue. The engine situation will not be resolved until they are able to standardise the PU.

      • + 0
      • Sep 15 2017 - 22:03
  • "But we have known for a long time now that nothing will be saved with the 3 engines," Lauda added. "Because the development on the test stands actually costs more." It sort of wouldnt surprise me if there is a drop of truth in that statement. At the very least it isnt helping the fun of the sport to reduce the allocations further.

    • + 0
    • Sep 14 2017 - 16:31
  • Stick to current as it will drive down costs eventually once they've learned how to make three engines reliable, they have to compromise on power in order to make them reliable and nobody wants to do this, but it is for the greater good longer term.........

    • + 0
    • Sep 14 2017 - 17:16
    • Hombibi

      Posts: 137

      I think that in general it costs more to build things that last longer.
      Cost will only come down with mass production and that is never going to be the case here.

      • + 0
      • Sep 14 2017 - 19:57
  • PeteTirtle

    Posts: 16

    I would have thought that the biggest costs for engine makers are the R&D costs rather than the actual cost of making the physical engines themselves, so limiting engine numbers just means that upgrades are brought in in "chunks" instead of in a continuous manner. On that basis, limiting engine numbers is just an exercise in rule application, not cost-cutting.

    • + 0
    • Sep 14 2017 - 17:33
    • That's what he says... "The development on the test stands.." He means the R&D

      • + 0
      • Sep 14 2017 - 17:52
    • PeteTirtle

      Posts: 16

      That was exactly my point, limiting engine numbers doesn't reduce costs significantly, so why have the limited number of engine parts and the associated grid penalties. Just allow the teams to use as many engines as they want, which might increase total engine costs by 5% or less, but would allow the cars to sit on the grid in the order that they actually qualified in. Maybe a better, and easier method, of cutting costs is to limit the number of employees (per department, thereby equalising things for teams that make their own engines for example) that a team can employ.

      • + 0
      • Sep 14 2017 - 18:02
    • Hombibi

      Posts: 137

      Although limiting the number of employees seems like a good idea I don't think it will work. With every limitation the teams will search for ways around. So they'll "outsource" work for instance.. Or spend millions on simulators when they are not allowed to test on the track anymore.

      But why do we need to limit costs? To give advantage to less rich teams? In one way that is not fair play: why should one team that has more money be restricted to use that. Along the same lines you can argue that the team with the faster engine should be restricted to use that, or the team with the faster driver.

      • + 0
      • Sep 14 2017 - 20:12

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