Smedley issues engine warning

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Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Williams head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley believes Formula One will again be wasting money if plans to unfreeze the current engine rules are pushed through for next season.

Ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, battle lines have been drawn of late between Mercedes on one side and Ferrari and Renault on the other as to whether the current regulation should be relaxed.

Following a season of domination in the wake of the introduction at the start of the year of the 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged power units, Mercedes are naturally keen to maintain the status quo.

At present, the rules dictate no changes are allowed for next season with regard to tweaking the engine, suggesting Mercedes will again have it all their own way.

Just as obvious is the fact Ferrari and Renault, who have comfortably languished behind Mercedes this term, are pushing for change in a bid to challenge.

A situation is due to be debated at next month’s meeting of the F1 Commission in which all teams, the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and race promoters will be present.

A unanimous vote, however, is required for change, and given Mercedes stance it appears unlikely to go ahead unless they can be convinced it is in the best interests of the sport.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has warned of the increased costs, a point refuted by Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci.

Smedley, perhaps understandably is siding with Wolff given his cars have been powered by Mercedes this year and are enjoying their best campaign for some time.

Smedley, however, has also put forward some valid arguments as he said: “What you have to consider is what benefit does it bring to the sport.

“Yes, Mercedes have the march on the other manufacturers, but if we open up the engine regulations, Mercedes aren’t going to sit still.

“Mercedes are going to do an awful lot of work and put in an awful lot of investment into this current generation of power unit.

“They will come out with something that is much bigger, much better, much stronger, as will Renault and Ferrari.

“In the end we will effectively have the status quo. Nobody will move forward or backward, we will end up where we are, and there will be a great deal of cost involved.

“That cost has to be offset somewhere, and what Formula One doesn’t need right at this moment in time is that everybody incurs a huge amount of cost for no benefit to the show.”

Smedley believes further cost increases will only dismay the fans who have become frustrated with the soaring amount of money being spent by the teams with little impact on the eye.

“If we open up the regulations we’re going to spend an awful lot of money, and to the paying punters, the people that keep this sport alive, what are they going to benefit from it?” questioned Smedley.

“Will we actually benefit from it? If we’ve x amount on a Ferrari or Renault engine, it’s going to stay the same.

“Nobody benefits. It’s just a load of cost.”

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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