F1 en­gine plan is about con­trol of sport: Horner

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SAO PAULO: For­mula One’s plan to in­tro­duce an al­ter­na­tive en­gine from 2017 ul­ti­mately comes down to a ques­tion of who runs the sport, ac­cord­ing to Red Bull prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner. “I think it’s about who con­trols For­mula One,” he told BBC tele­vi­sion at the Brazil­ian Grand Prix. “At the mo­ment you’ve got two very pow­er­ful en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers that are work­ing closely to­gether and then you’ve got the pro­moter and gov­ern­ing body and the en­gine is the cat­a­lyst of that.

“I think Jean (Todt) and Bernie (Ec­cle­stone) are try­ing to get con­trol of the sport back through the in­tro­duc­tion of a cost-ef­fec­tive avail­able en­gine.”

The gov­ern­ing In­ter­na­tional Au­to­mo­bile Fed­er­a­tion, run by pres­i­dent Jean Todt, has sought ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est ahead of a ten­der for a stan­dard en­gine that would be cheaper and sim­pler than those of­fered by the main man­u­fac­tur­ers. The en­gine, which has yet to be ap­proved by the For­mula One com­mis­sion, would be avail­able as an al­ter­na­tive to the costly 1.6 litre V6 turbo hy­brids.

The FIA has been backed by For­mula One supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone. For­mula One cur­rently has four en­gine makers-Mercedes, Fer­rari, Re­nault and Honda-who have in­vested mas­sively in the tech­nol­ogy. The first two are far more com­pet­i­tive than the lat­ter duo.

The four sup­ply the 10 teams but an at­tempt to agree a cost cap on ‘cus­tomer’ en­gines, with the FIA suggest­ing an ‘ac­cept­able’ sum of 12 mil­lion eu­ros ($12.92 mil­lion), failed when Fer­rari used veto pow­ers they were granted decades ago. The sit­u­a­tion has been ex­ac­er­bated by Mercedes re­fus­ing to sup­ply Red Bull with en­gines, Fer­rari re­port­edly seek­ing in ex­cess of $30 mil­lion for year-old units and McLaren block­ing part­ners Honda from help­ing.

Red Bull, who had fallen out with Re­nault, are now ex­pected to agree a deal to use the French man­u­fac­turer’s un­branded units and de­velop them. “We are go­ing to be on the grid next year. We are hom­ing in on a so­lu­tion,” said Horner. “We will have a so­lu­tion, it will be a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent to where we cur­rently are.”

While Red Bull have sided with the FIA and Ec­cle­stone, who want to en­sure teams al­ways have an af­ford­able op­tion and are not left high and dry, the man­u­fac­tur­ers and other teams re­main un­con­vinced by the pro­posal to run two dif­fer­ent kinds of en­gines.

“I don’t see how you can bal­ance it really in a way that it would not be dam­ag­ing,” Mercedes mo­tor­sport head Toto Wolff told re­porters. “What you have to do is make sure that there is some kind of en­gine par­ity be­tween the two con­cepts. How do you do that?” — Reuters

SAO PAULO: Mercedes driver Nico Ros­berg, of Ger­many, leads the race fol­lowed by team­mate Lewis Hamil­ton, of Bri­tain, af­ter the start of the For­mula One Brazil­ian Grand Prix at the In­ter­la­gos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, yes­ter­day. — AP

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