Engine furore divides F1

Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The Formula One teams are currently embroiled in a bitter internal dispute as to the way forward regarding engines.

Following the introduction for this season of the 1.6-litre turbo-charged power units, Mercedes have thoroughly dominated, claiming 15 of 16 poles, 13 race wins and nine one-twos.

In the constructors’ championship, four of the top-six teams boast Mercedes’ power, whilst in the drivers’ campaign, eight of the top 11 have the German manufacturing giant behind them.

It is why Mercedes are determined to block a requested unfreezing of the current regulations that would allow Ferrari and Renault to make gains and potentially close the gap.

A vote is to be taken at a forthcoming F1 Commission meeting, in which all 11 teams will be present, along with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, the FIA and race promoters, with unanimity required for any changes to come into force.

Mercedes and their customers – Williams, Force India, and from next year, Lotus – are unwilling to co-operate.

Determined Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said: “F1 needs stability.

“It’s very easy coming from a position of force where we say our power unit is clearly the most competitive at the moment and then just block everything. But this is not the approach we have.

“We have rules and we have governance, and the governance is in place in order to avoid quick, knee-jerk decisions being made that upset stability, upset the commercial set-up.

“I strongly believe you cannot change rules in October for the following year just because you think they don’t suit you.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, whose team enjoyed four years of title-winning success with Renault up until this season, feels Mercedes should “not be afraid of competition”.

Horner appreciates an unfreeze could even prove beneficial to Mercedes as there is the possibility of them developing a more powerful engine.

However, Horner feels Renault and Ferrari should at least be given an opportunity to level the playing field, otherwise Mercedes will be virtually unbeatable again in 2015.

“Mercedes are doing a super job,” said Horner.

“But it is healthy for F1 that Ferrari, Honda (who return in 2015 as supplier to McLaren) and Renault should have the ability to close the gap otherwise we are going to end up in a very stagnant position.

“It is a bigger issue than just about the teams. It is about what is right for the sport, what is right for the fans.

“It is easy to take a self-interest position, but when you look at what is the right thing for F1, it is to have competition.

“We need to be big enough to say let’s open it a little bit and let’s be responsible on costs – so there is no cost impact for customer teams – but have that competition.

“So we’ll see what the outcome of the Formula One Commission vote is.

“FIA are in support, FOM are in support. Obviously the non-Mercedes teams are in support, so we’ll see what that holds in approximately a month’s time.”

From Ferrari’s perspective, team principal Marco Mattiacci said: “Thinking of frozen engines, this is not Formula One.

“So I agree with Christian. Now we have the majority of the votes to move ahead on the idea to unfreeze the engine.

“Let’s see what’s going to happen during the F1 Commission meeting.”

Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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