Paddy Lowe: Red Bull’s engine proposal is “all about self-interest”

Mercedes F1 technical chief Paddy Lowe says that Red Bull’s push for changes to power unit rules is motivated purely by self-interest.

Christian Horner and Helmut Marko have both called for a move to a ‘low-tech’ twin-turbo V6 for 2016, which they also claim will cost less.

“Apparently a twin-turbo is supposed to be cheaper and a cost saving measure against a single turbo,” Lowe told this writer. “I haven’t quite worked that one out! Perhaps we’ll find out how that works.

“We’ve got clear rules, it was all designed with everyone’s agreement. The reason you have rules for stability in F1, particularly around the power unit, is that it allows people to set good regulations at a distance to be uninvolved with your relative performance. When people are asking for rule changes at short notice it’s all about self-interest.

“Nothing could be a clearer example than what we’re seeing, where somebody is feeling that he’s not on top of the heap at the moment, therefore the rules are all wrong. I don’t remember that happening before. I’ve worked in teams who have had good years and very bad years, I don’t remember anyone ever saying that we should change the rules so that I can win again. I don’t get it.”

Lowe is particularly sceptical about the cost element: “It completely contradicts all the other discussions in F1 which are around being cost effective and maintaining a platform whereby teams can compete whether they are financed as we are one end of the grid, or at the other. There is one simple fact in F1, rule changes cost money, particularly ones involving the engine, so it’s just the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard for how to save costs in F1.”


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

10 responses to “Paddy Lowe: Red Bull’s engine proposal is “all about self-interest”

  1. Stone the crows

    “I don’t remember anyone ever saying that we should change the rules so that I can win again. I don’t get it.” Apparently Paddy has not heard of Scuderia Ferrari.

  2. Aha, yo, Iberian is da house: Atheist Horner is not talking about winning or losing – at RBR they all admit that 2014 was not so bad for them after all – they’re talking about simplifying things because the current costs of powerless units may drive out engines suppliers out of the sport and there’s not a single independent PU supplier around (dudes like Cosworth are not stoopid to throw away cash on expensive toys).

    We would also welcome more competition, at least those of us who are not attached to particular drivers and follow the sport in general. Having two championships is boring, I’d prefer something like 2012 – more winners, more drama, more noise on and off track, less Toto Wolff and less Cherusci ideology from Mercedes.

    • RobDin

      Ever asked yourself who’s going to pay for developing the new V6 bi turbo engine? Even if development and operating costs are lower for the bi turbo V6 the costs still have to be made before F1 can use the new engine. This fact alone is enough reason to conclude that Red Bull is only thinking about themselves because there is no way how this can become cheaper, especially for customer teams. And when you include that those costs are likely added to the development costs that are already made for the current V6 hybrid Red Bull’s proposal becomes even more ridiculous (unless you believe that companies like Renault and Mercedes are willing to write off the 200 million dollar in development cost that each engine manufacturer spent on developing the hybrid). Are the Red Bull proposed engines cheaper to run? Probably a bit cheaper but not by so much that it can compensate for the R&D costs that engine builders have to make, and thus what the customer teams are asked to pay. A manufacturer team, like Red Bull, would probably not notice the increase in price for customer teams but it’s the customer teams that are complaining about having to pay too much 😉

      What the teams seem to forget in all these arguments is that the price teams paid in the 90’s for their engines over a whole season is not much different from what they pay now. The thing that is different from the 90’s period is the amount of money that needs to be invested in aero in order to be competitive (and an increase in chassis development costs because the chassis has to be safer). If teams really want to cut costs than they should reduce the number of updates a team is allowed to make on the car during a season.

      • Philip Massey

        Thank you Adam

        I rather sympathise with Paddy Lowe. Red Bull is a well funded team and less likely, like McLaren and Ferrari, to be seeking costs reduction/capping etc. However an internal combustion engine/power unit design change could give its supplier, Renault, a second opportunity to produce a dominant design or at least one thats more on a par with competition. No doubt the Scuderia may feel the same way. 2016 ‘might’ well be very interesting in this regard. However it would seem unlikely; Honda, certainly, would not be impressed at the idea of a ‘one season design’.

      • Stone the crows

        Not only that, but the engine mapping would have to be changed/rewritten because these V6’s, unlike the V8’s were born and bread to work with the ERS. And that is neither cheap nor easy. Yet another change to the engine specs would not help the independent teams, but add even more cost for them. No, this isn’t about the way the V6’s sound, economy, or improving the show, its about opening a window in the engine restrictions so that Renault can catch up, or at worst, slow Mercedes down.

  3. Oh so how about last year when Mercedes was fast but has to pit for tyres every two or three laps ? Ferrari, Lotus and Force India who designed their cars wisely and were very kind on the tyres had to swallow the bitter pill and accept the change imposed to Pirrelli. And don’t tell me that it was for safety reasons !!!

  4. neefookinway

    Oh, really ?! How about last year when Mercedes (and to a lesser extent Red Bull) cars had to pit every two or three laps for fresh tyres? Who imposed to Pirrelli the change of tyres? Teams like Ferrari, Lotus and Force India who wisely designed their cars to be very kind on tyres had to swallow the bitter pill only to keep Mercedes happy, eh ?! And don’t tell me that it was for safety reasons !!!

  5. Martin Bennett

    Paddy stating the bleedin’ obvious! 🙂

  6. Nick4

    That’s calling the kettle black! It seems to me that Merc are very determined to hold onto their advantage (albeit hard won) to the detriment of F1. In truth the FIA should step and overrule Merc and permit engine development in the interest of the sport and not ONE particular team. We are back to the days of what many perceived as the FIA acting in the interest of one particular team, namely Ferrari. Merc’s claim that relaxing the rule on engine development would increase costs is questionable. It’s the sport that should count and not Merc’s commercial interests.

  7. Kenny Smith

    Just my opinion ,but make F1 a little more equal so that one or two teams win almost every time , thats why i quit watching F1 because either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg won almost all the races this year , its ridiculous ,I would like to see multiple winners not just a couple every year , so fix that and I will start watching F1 again . !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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