SEPTEMBER 19, 2015
Two-tier engine caps, wind tunnel bans may never fire
The engines may never fire on two cost-cutting proposals that have leaked out of this week's strategy group meeting.
The first proposal, reportedly carried through a majority vote, is that a cap should be put on the cost of a 'power unit' for customer teams.
Currently, a team like Williams reportedly pays a supplier like Mercedes a cool EUR 25 million per season. The proposal is that the cost is slashed to just EUR 12 million.
Rumours indicate that would mean an actual loss for Mercedes, with fellow engine supplier Ferrari reportedly strongly opposed to the proposal.
So too is Mercedes.
"I have my opinion on fixing any price and there's a pretty simple legal view," said Toto Wolff in Singapore, "but that's going much too far for a press conference after a practice session."
The Mercedes team boss also moved to rubbish the rumoured numbers, calling them "pure speculation, borderline nonsense".
For the record, the strategy group rumours say suppliers would offer an 'A' version for just EUR 12 million, and a year-old power unit for a further 4 million euros less.
The idea is not popular, even among the smaller teams.
"I'm totally against the usage of a one year old engine because then we have a two class team on the grid and this will not close the gap," said Toro Rosso's Franz Tost.
Another rumoured proposal that may never see light of day is a total ban on wind tunnels.
Monisha Kaltenborn, a regular critic of the strategy group that her independent Swiss team Sauber is not a part of, did not have the details.
"I've heard different views. Some say they have been banned, some say they haven't," she said.
Even John Booth, whose struggling backmarker Manor (formerly Marussia and Virgin) famously entered F1 without a wind tunnel in 2010, is no fan of the idea.
"Probably not," he said. "I can see a time in the future when wind tunnels are banned totally but maybe not for the next two or three years."
Mercedes' Toto Wolff is also opposed, declaring: "It (the use of a wind tunnel) is a safety aspect and certainly formula one shouldn't be the playground for funny experiments for opportunistic reasons."