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Todt admits disappointment at Ferrari engine cost veto

NEWS STORY
01/11/2015

FIA president Jean Todt, has admitted to disappointment at Ferrari's decision to veto a bid to cost-cap engines.

The Italian manufacturer's move was revealed on Monday, when the FIA announced its intention to tender for a cheaper, independent engine supply, though it is believed the Italian company will have had the private support of fellow engine suppliers Mercedes, Renault and Honda.

The FIA had intended capping the engines at €12m (8.5) a year, whereby at present customers are charged around €20m (14.2), however, Ferrari, which some years ago was granted the power to veto virtually any regulation change it doesn't agree with, opted to exercise that right.

It's a move which has clearly frustrated Todt.

"The veto is like you have a gun in the pocket," he said. "So you must be careful about the way you use it and exercise it. What is important is you make the right proposal and people will react.

"The veto right which is in favour of Ferrari, is an historic right, it has to be demonstrated that it is something that goes against their interest. Trying to suggest a customer engine for teams is not against their interest.

"I don't think we should waste time with unnecessary legal battles, so we have accepted this veto right and have presented this new option," he added, referring to the tender for a new, independent supplier.

Indeed, speaking on Friday, Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, when asked why his company had made such a move, a move which could jeopardise smaller teams and thereby the sport, said the decision was purely to protect its commercial rights.

"We exercised our veto in compliance with our legitimate commercial right to do business as a powertrain manufacturer," he said. "The rules are done by the Federation and it's fine but we just exercise our commercial right as a powertrain manufacturer. This is the reason why. We are talking about commercial right. We are not talking about budget, we are not talking about anything else."

Indeed, speaking next day, Toto Wolff revealed that his company is already supplying engines to customers at a loss.

"We already lose money on the engine side, substantial," he said. "The question is how much more do we lose if we continue to subsidise those engines to some of our partners, but it's already a deficit."

Speaking of the proposed new engine - which he admitted would be scrapped if the manufacturers agree to his cost-cap - Todt said: "We will make sure that it is a right balance of performance, and we know that we can achieve that.

"In the WEC we have achieved that with a balance of performance," he continued. "You have at the moment three manufacturers who are competing with three different engines, one with a turbo charged engine which is Toyota, one with a diesel engine which is Audi and the other one with hybrid 4-cylinder which is Porsche. So it can work.

"At the moment it is a consultation," he admitted, "if they say 'we want it and we are happy' then we will move along with this consultation. We will propose it at the next Strategy Group meeting, and we are quite optimistic that it will be voted in favour, and then go to F1 Commission and then WMSC."

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1. Posted by Canuck, 01/11/2015 15:56

"Jean I have a couple of easy solutions for you. Set the cap at the current level. You (the FIA) and Bernie (the Commercial Rights Owner), subsidize non factory teams €8m for their engines/PU. Then penalize the manufacturer €1m per engine/PU failure. That way the manufacturer can collect their amount for recovering R&D, development and manufacturing; and the FIA/CRO recover some of their investment in the SPORT. Another way is to deduct points from the manufacturer team for engine/PU manufactured by them instead of foolish penalties . So if William's loses a PU X points get deducted from Merc. In the case of Mclaren/Honda they get to eat their loses.

If the FIA wants to constantly make these rule changes let them pay for results of their decisions. I do not dislike the new PU regulation - but dislike the way it was implemented. No analysis into the cost of developing these units was ever considered. FIA and Bernie only consider their revenues, not their responsibilities to the SPORT."

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2. Posted by bmendon, 01/11/2015 14:50

"Rather optimistic isn't he."

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