Red Bull’s push for a change of engine formula for 2016 is likely to continue to be a major talking point in the coming months, although it remains to be seen how much support the team gets.
Christian Horner and Helmut Marko share the view that the sport should go back to a simpler twin-turbo version of the current V6, which would create a better sound and allow the drivers more input into how it is operated.
Such a change could in theory be introduced for 2016 via a majority vote in the F1 Commission, should the idea get past the Strategy Group. Although Bernie Ecclestone supports change, it seems highly unlikely that it will progress. Clearly Mercedes and its customer teams will oppose any change, as will Honda, the Japanese manufacturer having just spent enormous resources on readying its hybrid power unit for 2015.
“For next year everything goes by regulations,” Marko told this writer. “We don’t ask any favours from Mercedes, we go with what the regulations allow. We hope to have a reasonable increase in performance. We can’t catch Mercedes, we know, but we want to be nearer.
“And for 2016 it’s all a new game. As Christian has said we want a new engine, because this engine is so expensive and so complicated. It’s steered by engineers. What we want is a racing engine with noise, and where the driver is in charge.
“Cost-wise, the costs can be reduced we hope by more than 50%. I think a V6 or a V8 is for sure less expensive than what we have at the moment. We could use this V6 and put a second turbo, with the wastegate, and you have the noise then. And you could put on a standard KERS, like we had on last year, and the cost that we calculated is 50% down.”
Marko is adamant that fans want the change: “We have to think globally. The viewing figures are going down, and the interest generally, and these engines are unfortunately, not the right development. It proved what F1 technology can do, but for the medium term we have to change back to a racing engine.”