The F1 Strategy Group has agreed to an engine ‘unfreeze’ for 2015 which would allow in-season development – but the plan now has to be voted through by the F1 Commission.
Christian Horner said today that the teams had agreed in Singapore, but Mercedes and its customers subsequently changed their minds.
The Strategy Group, which is compromised of six teams, Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt, requires only a majority vote for ideas to go forward. It’s understood that in today’s meeting that Ecclestone, Todt, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull voted for the unfreeze, and Mercedes, Lotus and Williams opposed it. As Ecclestone and Todt have six votes each, the outcome was presumably 15-3 in favour.
Rule changes for 2015 have to receive the unanimous approval of the F1 Commission, on which all teams are represented by their bosses, along with other key stakeholders, namely Ecclestone (as its chairman), Todt as FIA president, eight race promoters, Pirelli, two sponsors (Rolex and Marlboro), and an engine supplier (Renault).
Thus in order for the unfreeze to proceed the three Mercedes teams – plus presumably Force India – will have to be convinced to support it in the Commission.
In effect they will have to agree that it will be good for the sport to give the other engine makers more of a chance to catch up.
“In Singapore, the teams unanimously agreed on a position,” said Horner. “And then, I think, subsequently from that meeting, Mercedes changed their position.
“We’ve subsequently had a strategy meeting and it’s been voted on a majority basis for that to go through to the Formula 1 Commission for in-season upgrades to be allowed.
“We’ll see what the outcome of the Formula 1 Commission vote is. The 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.
“Frozen engines: this is not Formula 1,” said Ferrari’s Marco Mattiacci. “I agree with Christian. Now we’ve had the majority of the vote to go ahead and unfreeze the engine, let’s see what’s going to happen with the F1 Commission.”