MARCH 4, 2016
Cheap engine plan for 2018 could be revived
The earlier-touted 'cheap engines' solution might soon be back on the table.
That is the claim of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, revealing that reforms agreed by the manufacturers to avoid the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's plan for parallel engine regulations may now collapse.
Just days ago, the power unit suppliers - Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda - agreed a plan to lower costs, improve noise and ensure that something like the 'Red Bull engine crisis' of late 2015 does not happen again.
"Significant further progress was made regarding power unit supply," the FIA confirmed after the latest F1 Commission meeting.
But Michael Schmidt, the respected Auto Motor und Sport correspondent, claims that the new EUR 12 million per customer fee for 2018 is in fact "a sham".
He explained: "The 12 million includes only 6 engines per team and 5 engineers at the track. But it takes twice as many engineers to operate these complex units, so the manufacturers will charge more for extra support.
"Even fuel and oil are not included in the price," Schmidt added.
Not only that, the report suggested that while 'supply availability' is a cornerstone of the 2018 agreement, McLaren will not budge from its veto position regarding the exclusivity of its works Honda deal.
"Ron Dennis explained at the last strategy group meeting that he cannot sign because he will be in breach of contract, in which the veto is enshrined," said Schmidt.
The fact Ecclestone's low-cost alternative engine may now be back on the table will alarm FIA president Jean Todt, who was hoping a resolution might entice a new manufacturer like Audi to the grid.
Audi recently bemoaned the rules instability in F1.
"F1 for Audi is absolutely not a topic," Audi's new technical boss Stefan Knirsch is now quoted as saying by Autocar.
"We want to win Le Mans in a championship where electric and hybrid technology plays a very major role, while we are in discussions with the DTM about when we can introduce this kind of technology," he added.