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Customer engines must be same spec as works in 2016

NEWS STORY
14/10/2015

2016 regulations published by the FIA today state that in 2016 customer engines must be same spec as work teams'.

Article 23.5 of the 2016 Sporting Regulations (pdf) states: "Only power units which are identical to the power unit that has been homologated by the FIA in accordance with Appendix 4 of these regulations may be used at an Event during the 2016- 2020 Championship seasons."

This comes at a time when Red Bull, which is still seeking an engine deal for 2016, was unhappy with an initial offer from Ferrari to supply engines but of the same 2015 spec as those issued to Sauber but not the Maranello outfit's works team. Ferrari has since said that it will only be willing to supply Toro Rosso.

Rather than offering Red Bull fresh hope however, the rules, which effectively mean the engine manufacturer must supply the Austrian team with the latest spec units, are likely to push the team closer to withdrawal from the sport.

That said, the engine manufacturers meet with the FIA on Thursday and Red Bull's situation is sure to be on the agenda.

Though Bernie Ecclestone insisted in Sochi that the Red Bull situation is "sorted" and there will be "twenty-two cars on the grid in 2016", there was no such news coming from the Austrian team itself, quite the opposite.

Though the rule means that engine specs must be the same, this does not aply to software mapping or fuel.

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1. Posted by scf1fan, 15/10/2015 20:00

"@ryanhellyer - Unfortunately, this is going to be an argument that never ends as long as the PU venders also have a works team. As I mentioned previously, there are some very good reasons for a PU supplier to supply different spec engines, two of the biggest might be cost and risk. (And as long as everyone understands this and it's being done on the up and up, I don't see a real problem here.)

Call the "A" spec engine the current engine, it has all the (theoretically) fastest but least tested parts. Then there might be a "B" spec and perhaps a "C" spec. Each drop in spec should be a less costly and more robust, though probably less powerful, PU. Would Marrussia have cared if they down 50 HP but saved a million or two a year?

Now the other side of the coin, the customer gets the latest trick spec PU and it blows up . . . but the PU for the works team doesn't. Who is going to blame who?

Unfortunately it is to the advantage of the works team to maintain the advantage over the customer teams. And there are so many ways to stack this deck that I don't think that regulations are going to cut it. (A year later . . . "What do you mean that the Rev. 4 ICE required greater cooling?")

As far as Indy cars goes . . . I only watch the 500 now. I much preferred it when you could watch AJ out there hammering on his custom intake Ford powered Coyote, or the Bettenhausens seeing how much Nitro they could get into their Offy without blowing it up, or a Dan Gurney "stock" block . . . I'm not a big fan of Mac-Racing."

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2. Posted by ryanhellyer, 15/10/2015 11:25

"I don't understand why this was never mandated as a rule in the first place.

Indycars get away with perfectly acceptable engines, yet they cost almost nothing (by comparison with F1) and all teams get the same spec engines. So it's not like this is a new concept. They just regulated it all through the rules, and the engine manufacturers accepted and produced engines which met the requirements. I'm not seeing any advantage in NOT doing this, other than it allowing the wealthier teams/manufacturer teams to have an unnecessary (for the sport) advantage."

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3. Posted by scf1fan, 15/10/2015 4:00

"@USA1 - Not being critical of your comment, but I wonder what you, or anyone else who wants to see more standardized equipment to be used across F1, really expects from F1? Why should they just standardize engines; why not chassis as well? Since an A.Newey chassis is typically better than most others, shouldn't each team be required to buy or build one of his designs so only the best driver prevails? Shouldn't pit stops also be removed to keep any mistakes in the pits from effecting the outcome of the race? Shouldn't they all start with the same amount of fuel and be ballasted up to the exact same weight so a smaller lighter driver doesn't have an advantage?

To the best of my knowledge Ferrari has never run anything other than their own engine and chassis. (Even when they were dogs!) So at some point why would they continue in F1 if what they raced wasn't very identifiably and unique as to being a Ferrari? What would F1 then be offering that you couldn't see in almost any SCCA class?

Originally, F1 was a constructors' championship, so there really is nothing to go back to in terms of drivers; they were/are just one (important) part of the team. Driver, Team, Chassis, Engine/PU. . . . are the components that make for competition in the current F1 as a sport; order them as you see fit. (Tires, like fuel, are now just one more resource to be managed. Does anyone really cares who makes them other than when one explodes? Other than perhaps Shell and Ferrari, does anyone know/care which team uses what fuel?)

If F1 becomes nothing more than an IROC, I'll be turning it off . . . In my mind, WEC (Le Mans, in whatever form it takes) will then become the real "F1" . . . If it isn't that already."

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4. Posted by USA1, 15/10/2015 1:30

"Same engines for everyone, let's get back to who's really the best driver!!!"

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5. Posted by scf1fan, 14/10/2015 23:20

"Although I made a similar appraisal earlier about the delivery of PU upgrades to customers on a schedule more beneficial to the works teams; I'm disappointed that the PU equivalency issue seems to have been taken up in part to help "save" RB. I've always believed that the PU suppliers should be functionally separate from the teams, but since they do have some capacity limitations, I have no problem with the open contracts being had on a first come, first serve basis. And nothing says that all the PUs need to be equal even then! If a team with a marginal chassis can't utilize a top shelf PUs power, maybe they can actually SAVE some money by using up all the inventory of last years parts. (This might also help the PU suppliers by not making them take a loss on the older parts.)
.
To be honest, nothing in F1 has made me angrier than when I read where Mr. Marko said that RB would pull STR (who has PUs) from F1 too if they didn't get top line PUs for RBR. So I now believe that RB should be actively shown the door if they feel that they cannot participate in a more constructive manner!! I do not know how what they are doing isn't considered to be anything but blackmail or extortion. So what is the rule about bringing the sport into disrepute? Teams have been penalized entire seasons for actions less jaded then RBs'.
.
If FOM is willing to cave in to RBs' demands, then I believe it is up to MB and Ferrari to NOT sell any PUs to RB. RB had a contract with Renault, it is not like that have (or had) no other options. The only PU supplier not near its max right now is Honda. Maybe RB should roll the dice; McLaren is certainly a better developmental organization then RB will ever be. Maybe they'll get lucky.
.
Otherwise, I'd be a lot happier hearing 16 sporting Turbos, that 20 backed by the Red Bull whine!"

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6. Posted by Spindoctor, 14/10/2015 14:14

"@CB120

"...The consequences for the F1 brand, if Red Bull and Toro Rosso leave, are potentially very dire."


You're probably right, and that's the problem. F1 was a SPORT, not a "brand" until Bernie, aided & abetted by Max Mosley got his grubby mitts on it.

Perhaps a "revolution" is called for, and maybe F1 will die as a brand, and rise again as a proper sport? We can all dream....."

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7. Posted by CB120, 14/10/2015 14:06

"F1 better not blow this one. They are at risk of losing two very good teams. This reminds me of the fiasco at the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix where F1/FIA with, ironically, contributions from Ferrari botched the race badly after Michelin declared that their tires were unsafe on the banking. While technically correct the decision not to change the race set F1 back years in the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, world wide. F1 better think this one though very carefully. The consequences for the F1 brand, if Red Bull and Toro Rosso leave, are potentially very dire."

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8. Posted by nonickname, 14/10/2015 13:43

"This could spell the end of the 2 Red Bull teams..no one wants to sell them equal engines."

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9. Posted by Spindoctor, 14/10/2015 12:47

"Surely the nadir, even by the pathetically inept standards of today's FIA?

It appears that Bernie's put the boot in to try & save his bacon and forced this stupid ruling on the "Sporting Body" which "controls" (pause for ironical laughter) F1.
It'll be interesting to see how this rule (if implemented) plays out. I wonder how they'll determine that motors are "identical".

As ever the ignorant twerps that seem to be in charge appear to have missed the point that most of the serious action in these PUs takes place in software. Give two teams an identical[sic] PU and one will perform better than the other.
Just look at Honda's current plight where the oily bits seem fine, but they can't harvest, store and deploy the regenerated energy anywhere as efficiently as Renault, let alone Mercedes."

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10. Posted by White Lightning, 14/10/2015 12:22

"For God's sake just mandate spec cars and let's get this charade over with."

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