Gentlemen, start your (alternative) engines as Todt and Bernie take on manufacturers

The FIA has formally announced its proposal for a low budget “client” engine to be introduced in 2017, which means that F1 could run with two different types of power unit which will somehow have to be balanced by an equivalency formula.

As previously explained it would allow teams to have a much cheaper alternative to the manufacturer supplied hybrid V6s. Although the specification has not been confirmed the FIA wants to have a 2.2-litre twin turbo V6, which in essence is similar to the current Indycar engine. The FIA is planning to launch a tender process, to which the likes of Cosworth and Ilmor could respond.

Today’s announcement is a direct result of a recent meeting between the engine manufacturers are the FIA in Geneva where the subject of a cap on supply costs to customers was discussed again, following a unanimous agreement at the last strategy group meeting that such a plan would be imposed.

However Ferrari used the veto on rule changes which was given to them by the FIA many years ago. The FIA, with the full support of Ecclestone, has used that rejection of a cut in supply costs to find a way to introduce the new engine concept. For Bernie Ecclestone one of the primary motivations is to find an engine that Red Bull could use in 2017 that has no manufacturer strings attached.

In a highly unusual move the FIA has gone public on the Ferrari veto.

The governing body said today: “The FIA, in agreement with FOM, suggested the principle of setting a maximum price for engine and gear box for client teams at the last Strategy Group meeting These measures were put to the vote and adopted with a large majority.

However, Ferrari SpA decided to go against this and exercise the right of veto long recognised under agreements governing F1. In the interest of the Championship, the FIA has decided not to legally challenge Ferrari SpA’s use of its right of veto.”

In explaining what happens next the FIA used very careful language to emphasise that this is an idea that has to go through the proper processes: “Therefore the FIA will initiate a consultation with all stakeholders regarding the possible introduction of a client engine, which will be available as of 2017. Following this consultation a call for tenders for this client engine, the cost of which would be much lower than the current power unit, could be undertaken.

Supported by FOM, the FIA will continue in its efforts to ensure the sustained long-term development of the Championship and look for solutions enabling it to achieve this. It asks all of the teams to make a positive contribution to the success of this approach through proposals and initiatives in the interest of the Championship and its continuation over the long term.”

Ecclestone is fully behind the idea and is convinced it will work.

We used to have people running turbo engine and people running normally aspirated,” he said in Austin. “It wasn’t a two-tier system. It was a choice. Whatever it is, I anticipate they will be able to continue running their engine and others running the other engine.”

Regarding equivalency he said: “Obviously it can be done, yes. Maybe we will have refuelling again for those that want it, if people have an engine that is super efficient they won’t wan to obviously. They don’t have to.”

The existing manufacturers are obviously sceptical about the idea, and it remains to be seen whether ultimately the scheme is a ploy to force them to lower the supply prices of their current engines.


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

13 responses to “Gentlemen, start your (alternative) engines as Todt and Bernie take on manufacturers

  1. George Jones

    Er, how about Judd? Engine Developments must have a bucket load of “Lotus” engines knocking about.

    Are Red Bull so sore at Renault because it was their performance that let Vettel exercise a performance clause and end his contract early?

  2. petes

    Owners of Cosworth…their connection with IndyCar series….configuration of that series engine…..not too difficult to join the dots…..

  3. I like zat. Zee kind of technology I’d like to see in F1. Let Farrari quit zee sport, quoi. Honda Bedford or Mercedes FTW Class – oui don’t care. For wot it’s worth, bring back Cosworth.

  4. GeorgeK

    Amazing. Ferrari veto the engine cost cap. What wil prevent them from vetoing an outside independent engine supply.

    Come on Mr. Todt,grow a pair and tear these regulations down!!!

  5. Peterg

    I have an open mind, BUT, I’m leery of a equivalence formula.How does that work, more details please.

    Also Bernie’s memories of late 70’s, early 80’s turbos vs normally aspirated engines is a bit disingenuous.

    • DW

      I suspect that if it gets off the ground at all, it wont be designed to be too equal. If this becomes a reality, It’ll be regulated to be faster than the manufacturer engines as a big middle finger to them.

  6. petes

    There has to be a Ferrari veto in there somewhere….?

  7. Mcb

    “However, Ferrari SpA decided to go against this and exercise the right of veto long recognised under agreements governing F1. In the interest of the Championship, the FIA has decided not to legally challenge Ferrari SpA’s use of its right of veto.”

    If someone has a right that is recognized then you can legally challenge all you want but it would be a waste of time. Love it how the FIA makes it like they do it in the interest of the championship/ sport. They don’t have a leg to stand on

  8. Mark

    If I were Cosworth (or Judd, or anyone), I’d be asking for a very hefty up-front research fee from Bernie before I even lifted a pencil. They’ve been shafted by him before, and I doubt they’re eager to do a ton of work developing an engine just to be a lynchpin in some other political negotiation.

    And whatever happened to PURE? I thought they were all go go go! but then again, it was Craig Pollock… nuff said

  9. Aljo

    This is Bernie… Therefore it stands to reason we are all looking in the wrong direction and he is up to something else entirely.

  10. MW

    On the basis that F1 couldn’t make the concept of having 2 different tyre suppliers work, I can’t see 2 engine ‘types’ getting the go-ahead. All negotiating tools / positions.

  11. Nick

    This V6 twin turbo comes in, the other manufacturers say, “Why are we spending a fortune on these complex power units with a million extra bits that can go wrong when we can run a simple V6TT?” Everyone switches to a V6TT. Someone, let’s say Renault, manage to get it horribly wrong and are nowhere near the pace. Much whining follows. “Ok, to even things up we’re going to allow Renault to run a V8 that can rev to 20k RPM.” Everyone else goes, “WTF? If they’re allowed to run their old cheap, simple, thoroughly tested and reliable V8, at an equivalent power to what we’re allowed to get out of the V6TT, we’ll do the same.” Ferrari get their big engine noise back, Merc had the best V8 back then anyway (exhaust blowing aside), the field is pretty well level in engine performance, all is good.

    Then for the sake of reliability, the engines are rev limited to say, oh I dunno, maybe 18k.

    Oh look, we’re back where we started!

  12. sunny stivala

    The FIA decided not to legally challenge the use of Ferrari veto is because this time round they have no legal grounds. FERRARI veto rights also extends even to/on decisions presented to the world motorsports council. What is being pushed out by Bernie is exactly that same and for the same reasons of what was pushed out by Mosely in 2009. Since back than what Cosowrth has produced was total crap, same goes for illmor product for MotoGP. At this present day level of engine making technology, neither Cosworth nor Ilmor have the level of capability and know how to trouble the present four engine manufacturers.

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