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Todt vows to reduce engine costs

NEWS STORY
26/06/2015

Jean Todt has promised to address the high cost of engines in an attempt to assist struggling smaller teams.

Speaking in Paris, having insisted that current criticism of Formula One is exaggerated, the FIA president admitted that he had failed in terms of addressing engine costs which have almost doubled in the wake of the introduction of the new formula.

"I do agree that it's too expensive," he said, according to ESPN. "Here I take the responsibility for probably not having secured that it would be a maximum cost to the customers.

"It's something we are going to address," he continued. "It's better late than never, but we are going to address the cost for the customers.

"We are going to discuss it. I am a realist, so I want to make sure that what we do, we can do it. If we do something and we can do it, I want to make sure that I'm here, so I need some good advisors - of which I did a good job (employing) - so if we were to be challenged we can go through the challenge. So it's something we are going to address."

Returning to the medical analogy he used in terms of the sport's current ills, he said: "If Formula One has a headache, we need to define what is a good prescription. So if somebody says to me a good prescription is to get rid of these engines, I don't agree. I agree that they're too expensive but I do say that it was the right thing to have these engines."

However, his empathy for the smaller teams only goes so far, and unhappiness over the way the sport's prize pot is divided cuts no ice, especially as such matters are outwith his control.

"You hear teams complaining about the cost of Formula One. I'm a person who considers Formula One is too expensive, but, saying that, Formula One now is less expensive than it was ten years ago. Now new agreements have been signed, and signed by everybody, incidentally. They are much more favourable to some teams than to some other teams, so we are facing people who are very happy to have signed, and we are facing people who are very unhappy to have signed. Saying that, there is a common thing: they have all signed.

"I wasn't involved, and rightly so. The FIA is not involved. I am happy to take all the responsibility I need to take as president of the federation, but they all accepted and they were happy, at least I don't know if they were happy but they signed. Now they are not happy."

Asked about the fate of the smaller teams, he said: "It's not in my hands. This is why we were so supportive of Manor to stay, I hate to see somebody leave. For me it was a disappointment to see Caterham leaving. Maybe they underestimated what F1 was. People think 'Let's go, we have money to do this', it's not true. So, the competition is very difficult, very tough and to get to be competitive is very difficult. When you are competitive, to stay competitive is difficult. That is why it is unfair when people say it is so easy for Mercedes, they do a great job, it is the only thing you can say.

"I really hope that Lotus, Force India, Renault, Manor can stay, but it is not in my hands. What is unfair that they say, they know it is F1, they knew when they accepted a deal that was not as favourable to them than some others, what the cost is of F1, maybe they underestimated the sponsors. It is very difficult. I have been trying to find some sponsors with some success, but sometimes I didn't have success and I was representing, at the time the biggest brand in F1. To find money is difficult. Those things are very competitive and challenging, but I think it is unfair to take, I would say, 'fake reasons' to explain why you are not happy, why you want to go, why you cannot stay. They may be reasons, but at least we should really say 'I want to win... I cannot win, I am going to leave'."

Fact is, the likes of Manor and Caterham, albeit in different guises were encouraged by the FIA to join F1, lured by the promise of a price cap that the governing body was not unable to deliver but presided over as costs rose ever higher.

It is all very well for Todt to say such matters are not in his, thereby the FIA's hands, the fact is he is president of the governing body... he must govern. Furthermore, the 'nothing to do with me guv', 'this didn't happen on my watch' excuses don't cut it.

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1. Posted by Pavlo, 27/06/2015 22:42

"I think FIA got the "cost cutting" principle completely wrong. You cannot tell teams to spend less, simply because they will never do it. If a team has money and sees how it can spend to gain advantage, they will do anyway. So it's not about limiting the expenses of the top teams, it's about making it possible to catch them with smaller budget.
You cannot tell the manufacturer to make the cheap engine. What you can do - make the rules that will allow somebody to copy the ideas and produce something similar for a lower price (and "engine freeze" just protects against this). And the same for other parts of the car - give the small teams a possibility to copy the ideas of big teams (even if they do it slightly worse), and give a bit more freedom in the rules, so that they accidentally add something like Brown did.
In other words, small teams should see that they can accidentally make a big step and win. Yes, most of the time richer teams do win, and it's fine, but the chance to beat them at least once a while is what the smaller teams need."

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2. Posted by Paul C, 27/06/2015 1:25

"The only thing that makes F1 look and sound good (?) is FE. The FE cars sound like Scaletrix or Aurora A/FX slot cars - but slot cars could run a whole race. So, so sad. Chuck out ALL of the hybrid green rubbish in the cars and just bore out the engines. If you keep DRS, chuck out the zones. It is so lame to have most of the passing in the DRS Zones. Aren't these drivers the world's best, then let them show it and dump the nanny zones. Allow refueling and keep the turbos and KERS to speed up the races. Hypermiling is extremely DULL. The go-flat and slow tires are GONE too. Unshackle the great drivers of F1 and watch the Brackley Panzer drivers run for their lives."

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3. Posted by Italian Job, 26/06/2015 20:54

"M. Todt has lost the plot (if he had it in the first place!). If these "eco friendly" (but not budget friendly) power plants cost $30 million per car per season and have a short enough life in one or more COMPONENTS to cause stupidities like a 25 place grid penalty then the FIA has got it very, very, wrong.
Was it Keith Duckworth who suggested a free fuel type but a fixed weight (not volume) of fuel which is not enough to allow a car to go flat out for the full race distance? This might make diesel fuel or kerosene an alterative to the "pump" fuels used today and allow a "tortoise versus hare" scenario to satisfy the eco-followers.
Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport but we have a very real risk that it will become a laughing stock (if it hasn't already!) unless the FIA joins the real world and REQUIRES teams to spend sensible, not eye-watering, amounts of money."

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4. Posted by GordonW, 26/06/2015 17:36

"Mr Todt needs to understand that hybrid-engines-with-fuel-limitation-and-the-need-to-lift-and-coast-etc-etc is DULL. Whilst manufacturers want "relevance" to road cars, F1 fans DO NOT if such dull racing is the price we have to pay.

Similarly: DRS (false overtaking); Pirelli's 2015 compounds (self-destroying tyres); such complicated technical regulations that someone like me who's closely followed Formula One for over 40 years has difficulty keeping up - so what chance has a newcomer to the sport got; ridiculous prices to attend a race in person (because of the ridiculous cost of teams taking part) - I went to every British Grand Prix for 25 years and then this price became stupid; removal of Formula One from free-to-air TV; I could go on.

ALL of these and many more have led to a decline in interest in Europe and a new generation of fans is being put off by the complexity of the rules and Bernie's "money for him and CVC" first approach. And when, exactly was Baku in Azerbaijan "in Europe"? West of the Urals maybe but as far east of Istanbul as London is to the west...

Consider the other "great" ideas in motor racing at the moment - I believe it's the Formula E event in London this weekend. I have seen nothing, absolutely NOTHING about this in any of the British mainstream media. Why - because it's DULL. In Formula E, the cars' batteries cannot even manage a race distance - so instead of halving the distance and having two races, the drivers change cars. Y-A-W-N...

If the owners of Formula One and the FIA really want to re-capture the excitement they've managed to lose, then CUT THE COSTS - no more silly hybrid engines that fail with boring regularity, no more Timbuktu GPs and no more pay-to-watch TV coverage. In that way, teams like Manor might actually have some sponsor names on the side of their cars...."

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5. Posted by Joop deBruin, 26/06/2015 16:07

"Good point made by Pavlo. Let sponsors choose which tracks they will sponsor the car, then watch those boring Middle East races go the way of Korea.

Every time the Hobbit or anyone else in F1 "leadership" opens their mouth these days, all I hear is Beck's "Loser" coming out."

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6. Posted by Pavlo, 26/06/2015 13:15

"Reducing costs of engine? Make F1 affordable?
Come on, look at Manor car, and compare it to losers in 90-es. I remember old Minardis covered with advertisement, even when hopelessly losing. And now I see Manor with just one banner. F1 will be always too expensive for them. And if you manage to make it affordable for Manor, this restriction will kill F1 quickly - we will just constantly hear about rule violations in teams with proper sponsors.
My advice - get back to European GPs (interesting for European sponsors), allow tests but distribute them across the countries (this will allow more people to see F1, making it more interesting), allow more promotion events. And make the rules clear to everyone. I am happy to see Hamilton penalized for something I saw on a screen, and I am disappointed to see Ricciardo penalized for something I can only guess what it is."

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7. Posted by SideGlance, 26/06/2015 9:53

"Head in sand, seemingly clueless. Formula one = Formula Boring, too expensive, boring to drivers, too complex, boring.

Would love to go back to more entertaining and less tech, big engines, big tires, mandated front and rear wings sizes for high drag with adj for balance, smaller brakes, less driver aids, current engines too costly and ineffective as to pushing the tech further, car makers already make oodles of hybrids - MUST we 'try' to be entertained by them?? Nonsensical formula !!!

Would be nice if Formula Uno was a driver's championship NOT an Engineering/Spending Championship !!"

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8. Posted by nonickname, 26/06/2015 9:20

"He is missing the job he should have. P.M of Greece!
It would be a perfect fit."

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