Force India backs Ecclestone’s push for low cost ‘parity’ F1 engine

Force India supports Bernie Ecclestone’s plan to introduce a budget ‘customer’ engine that will run in competition with the current works hybrid V6s.

As outlined here yesterday Ecclestone supports the idea of making available a cheap V8 with KERS (or even a V6 twin-turbo with KERS) that independent teams could use at a much lower cost than current customer engine deals.

“I think the principle of maintaining the V6 hybrid is absolutely correct and proper,” Force India’s Bob Fernley told this writer. “From the manufacturers’ point of view it’s very beneficial both for their marketing and technical programmes. I don’t see any doubt that the hybrid has a long term future in F1.

“What Bernie is looking at is that the independent teams will be offered a ‘parity’ engine, possibly a V8 with KERS, at a half of the price at least of what we are paying today. Of course, as an independent team to be able to cut our costs down by half and have parity with the V6s is attractive. It doesn’t disadvantage us, we’re still putting on a great show.

“If say Cosworth brought in a V8 with a KERS system it would be a very, very good unit. The advantage to that is we’ve got an independent supplier, and there’s nothing wrong with that for the health of F1. I think Cosworth and Renault are the two operations that can do it.

The obvious drawback is that there will be a debate on how the FIA can ensure parity, but Fernley does not see that as a problem.

“At the end of the day the teams cannot survive on the current cost base. So I think Bernie’s initiative has got tremendous merit. Whether it causes a few issues in terms of discomfort in determining where parity is… Well there is already discomfort between where Mercedes are and where Renault are! You’re always going to have that.

“I don’t think it devalues F1. We run with different chassis, so why can’t we run with different engines? We’ve done it in the past, and sometimes it’s been successful and sometimes it hasn’t, but we haven’t got parity today.”

Fernley says there has been no move from the current suppliers to reduce the prices they charge the independent teams for the current engines: “At the moment it’s not on the table and it’s not something that the manufacturers want to consider.

“The only other thing that’s been on the table is to reduce costs, but not have a parity engine. Why would we want that?”

9 Comments

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9 responses to “Force India backs Ecclestone’s push for low cost ‘parity’ F1 engine

  1. Wouldn’t it be easier to set a maximum price for an engine? Last time Cosworth produced an engine, it was heavily underpowered. I do not see a reason that it would be different this time.

    Also implement ruling that each customer team runs the same engine, with equal performance, as the manufacturer teams.

    And last, do not change the engine rules for the next 10 years. Maybe the amount of fuel used can be lowered, but nothing drastic.

    There is a maximum in what an engine can do. Not changing the rules, will make sure that maximum is reached by all manufacturers.

  2. Steve W

    OK, so what happens if these low-cost engines start beating the hybrids? Or at least are consistently competitive with them? What will Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda do when they’re running power units at two times or more the cost with this scenario?

  3. Matt

    Bob Fernley is just driving me up the wall, constantly. Everything he says is somehow contra to what the consensus is in the paddock. He’s blamed Red Bull for the fiscal situation of F1 teams, he’s threatened to boycott the US GP and now he wants to leave Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari holding the bill for developing engines that everyone in the paddock agreed would be a long term replacement to the V8s.

  4. If we had a 30 car grid, I can see the advantage of having 2 separate classes with two separate championships, as Bernies plan currently stands it will just lead to more teams and drivers throwing toys out of the prams and not solve anything long term. CVC and partners need to directly reduce costs both for circuits and teams entry fees, and also give more of the profits back to the team whilst making the payout fairer across the board. FIA is toothless, F1 strategy group clearly has a conflict of interest, and smaller teams and fans have no voice. Such a sad state of affairs for a sport that so many hold dear. I actually now hope that the whole thing goes tits up and is rebuilt on solid foundations where everyone involved reaps the benefits.

  5. Mad Man

    Formula one is about winning the most races,if not all the races.
    the teams must make a car under the current rules.
    if your car doesnt win ,you develop your car till it wins
    what you dont do is CHANGE THE RULES BECAUSE YOUR UPSET..
    Knuckle down and sort it ……

  6. Stone the crows

    That’s a lot of speculation without any word from the engine manufacturer’s to back it up. As I posted elsewhere, Renault stated last year when Christian Horner floated the idea of going back to V8’s that they (and Mercedes) would leave if that happened. And Cosworth? Their F-1 operation was resurrected once and was found to not be competitive, and now that they’ve completely shut it down and virtually all the people who were associated with the F-1 program are working elsewhere we’re going to bring them back yet again and with KERS? Its just imbecilic.
    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, there’s nothing more expensive than F-1 trying to do things cheaply.

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