MAY 29, 2003
Renault declines the $10m a year engine deal
A few weeks ago Formula 1 engine manufacturers gave the impression that they would be willing to supply engines to customer teams for $10m a year, including the electronics. In exchange for this the FIA said that it would be willing to allow traction-control for the foreseeable future. The actual wording of the agreement was that the automobile manufacturers agreed to supply engines at "a fully affordable cost having regard to the current business climate".
Very quickly however companies began to say that they would not do it. BMW was followed by Toyota, Honda and Ford, and at Monaco Renault joined the non-party, Renault Sport chairman Patrick Faure saying that "there will be no second team in 2004". Faure said that "we won't sell an engine for $10 million."
This seemed to be very clear but a few minutes later when asked about Mercedes-Benz's commitment to the same deal Norbert Haug said $10m was "a baseline figure which does not include everything". Haug added that this was still a lot less than "people are paying at the moment".
It seemed to be clear that in fact none of the manufacturer are willing to supply engines at the original price of $10m for engine and electronics. And that is bad news because there is now likely to be a reaction from the FIA which may be a total ban on traction-control as originally discussed - as teams have, apparently, failed to deliver on their part of the bargain.
The problems over engine supply highlight once again the lack of unity amongst the manufacturers.
Faure said that "we probably want to be not only a supplier but a partner of the second team, and to be able to have with them a few possible deals on trying some young engineers, young drivers or whatever, so being in a position of partner more than in the position of pure supplier, but we are ready to supply another team, let's say from 2005 or 2006 onwards".
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