“Now, of course, the universal refrain is: ‘We should have capped power unit prices’”
e should have…” – the most overused phrase heard in contemporary F1 circles. Those three words convey the confusion sown by the sport’s governance system, which relies on the sort of last-minute brinkmanship that falls squarely in the gametheory category most recently practiced by bleary-eyed politicians debating ‘Grexit’. Whenever a team nd themselves disadvantaged by ill-dened regulations – sporting or technical – the immediate retort is invariably: “We should have thought of this when framing the rules, but now it’s too late and we’re stuck with it.”
Take the current engine regulations: Conceived during V8 engine price freezes in 2009 under the previous FIA administration, the proposal was chopped, then changed. Conguration switched from in-line 4 to V6; high-pressure fuel systems reformulated and turbo specications amended; and then introduction was delayed a year. Yet, incredibly, at no stage did any party to the process consider imposing price caps.
This despite the severe nancial crisis in which F1 found itself at the time, a period of exodus by manufacturers, sponsors and soletyre supplier alike; a period of huge downsizing