Date: 29th October 2015 at 9:07am
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Formula One wouldn’t be Formula One without the off the track politics that surrounds the sport.

For the last couple of years this has mainly been about engines.

In a sport where the competitors have a say on the rules and regulations, unsurprisingly they always take the short term view which best benefits themselves and not the sport.

This has always been how Formula One has operated and obviously, if you let the inmates run the asylum the situation is going to progressively get worse over time.

The new engine regulations were agreed by committee, in principle the move from V8 aspirated engines to V6 Turbo-Hybrid engines was the right one.

Formula One represents the pinnacle of motor racing, both with its drivers and its technology and the switch was exactly what inspired Honda to return to the sport.

But the rules and regulations that were agreed were far too complicated and has seen costs spiral out of control, which has thus seen a cap on testing to keep costs down. It’s worked for the accountants, but not for the sport as it means the teams have one hand tied behind their back in terms of development.

For a sport to be competitive its competitors need to be on a level playing field, but with testing prevented, the new regulations handed an advantage to Mercedes as they were the manufacturer who developed the quickest car by the point of that deadline.

It has taken two years for Ferrari to catch up to Mercedes, whilst Renault have drifted further and further behind.

If teams cannot compete due to their power-units then why should they spend millions of pounds to struggle and look bad?

That’s the crossroads that Red Bull Racing and Renault have found themselves at.

Renault have contemplated leaving the sport due to looking uncompetitive, whilst Red Bull have tried, without success to find a more competitive engine for 2016.

With Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda the only other options for Red Bull, their choices are limited and could well see them leave the sport if they cannot source an engine supplier.

Mercedes have turned them down, Ferrari are only willing to supply year old engines and Honda’s involvement could be vetoed by McLaren.

So what’s next for Formula One as the engine situation is risking losing teams from the sport, either on a competitive level or a cost level.

Motorsports governing body the FIA and Formula One Management [FOM] put forward plans to set maximum price for customer power units and gearbox suppliers.

The idea was was passed by a majority vote when discussed by F1’s Strategy Group.

However Ferrari blocked the move using ‘the right of veto’.

The FIA has decided against any form of legal challenge and have now moved to begin a tendering process for a customer engine supplier.

The idea behind this would be that from 2017, Formula One teams could opt to take this customer engine at a much lower cost than the current power units supplied by Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda.

‘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.
an FIA statement published on Sky Sports read.

 

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