Bud­get en­gine pro­posal blown out of the wa­ter

F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

The idea made Jean Todt and Bernie Ec­cle­stone un­likely al­lies, but their bid to curb the power of the man­u­fac­tur­ers has failed

Mercedes and Fer­rari have won the first stage of their bat­tle with Bernie Ec­cle­stone and Jean Todt over en­gine sup­ply. The F1 bosses had wanted a cheaper, al­ter­na­tive en­gine to run along­side the turbo hy­brids in 2017, but the plan was re­jected at a meet­ing of the F1 Com­mis­sion be­fore the Abu Dhabi GP.

F1’s car man­u­fac­tur­ers have, how­ever, agreed to look into ways of re­solv­ing on­go­ing con­cerns about some as­pects of the hy­brid en­gines. These will be: a guar­an­tee of sup­ply to teams; the need to re­duce the cost of en­gines; sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of spec­i­fi­ca­tion; and more noise.

The man­u­fac­tur­ers have un­der­taken to “present a pro­posal by 15 Jan­uary 2016 that will seek to pro­vide so­lu­tions to the above con­cerns”, the FIA said in a state­ment.

The re­jec­tion of the al­ter­na­tive en­gine plan will be a re­lief to many in F1. Even those who were pub­licly back­ing the idea con­ceded that run­ning two dif­fer­ent en­gines to an equiv­a­lency for­mula would have been “a dis­as­ter”. In­ter­est­ingly, Todt and Ec­cle­stone had joined forces on the idea for very dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

Todt, who backs the hy­brid en­gines and was in­stru­men­tal in their in­tro­duc­tion, was us­ing it as lever­age against the man­u­fac­tur­ers to get them to re­duce the cost of cus­tomer en­gines. Ec­cle­stone op­poses hy­brids but in­sid­ers say he was mo­ti­vated more by a de­sire to re­duce the power of the en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers – and in par­tic­u­lar of Fer­rari pres­i­dent Ser­gio Mar­chionne and Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff.

De­spite set­ting up the cur­rent gov­er­nance struc­ture, in­clud­ing the rel­a­tively new Strat­egy Group, Ec­cle­stone has found it dif­fi­cult to push his ideas through. This un­der­lines the power of Mercedes and Fer­rari within F1 at the mo­ment.

The ques­tion now is how the man­u­fac­tur­ers will sim­plify cur­rent en­gines with­out re­mov­ing the MGU-H, the power-unit com­po­nent that is key to the cur­rent ef­fi­ciency for­mula and which is the main de­vel­op­ment route of rel­e­vance to road cars.

Ec­cle­stone and Todt joined forces to push through bud­get en­gines, but their plans have been re­jected by the F1 Com­mis­sion

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