FEBRUARY 17, 2017
Rumours of 4x4 F1 cars, FOTA reunion
A new political storm could be on the horizon for formula one.
The sport's new owner Liberty Media has been generally welcomed to the paddock, but 1996 world champion Damon Hill compared the company to "the Trump administration".
"I think they're learning," he told the London publication City AM.
The latest rumour flowing out of Portuguese media sources is that some in F1 want the controversial current engine regulations to take a further step forwards for the post-2020 period.
Mercedes' Toto Wolff told German newspaper FAZ recently: "We have to look at how we can pull even more power from these hybrid engines.
"Formula one is the fastest laboratory in the world and we must not abandon that."
His comments come amid strong contrary opinions that F1 should actually abandon its 'green' credentials and focus more on the spectacle, with loud, fuel-guzzling engines in the future.
But the Portuguese rumour is that the post-2020 vision could be of the existing traditional engine allied to MGU-H and MGU-K, but with additional 'hybrid' elements incorporating the front wheels as well.
A source told us: "Mercedes and Honda would be keen on this kind of technology. Personally I'm excited about the prospect of 4x4 F1 cars."
But a potential dispute over the post-2020 engine regulations is not the only future prospect. There are also fundamental disagreements about how the sport's huge revenues should be split, with some believing the current system is even "anti-competitive".
Hill continued: "I think it is worth asking those questions. We do appear to have a situation where teams are favoured. Particularly Ferrari is a little bit more than everyone else and seems to get some sort of preferential treatment."
Amid that talk, another rumour is that there could be a move to put the former teams alliance - or FOTA - back together, after it dissolved in 2014.
"I created FOTA to ensure that the drivers were again at the centre," Flavio Briatore told Italian broadcaster Sky Sport 24 recently.
"Those watching TV don't care if the engine can go to the moon or not. They want the drivers in cars that have more or less the same performance."