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Differences of opinion over new engines

NEWS STORY
14/11/2015

As the FIA seeks an alternative engine supply, the teams are divided as to whether it's a good move.

Earlier in the day, the FIA began the process of tendering for a new engine for the sport, an engine that would be cheaper, would not be linked to one of the all-powerful current suppliers and with different technical specs, effectively creating a two-tier grid.

The new unit would not conform to the 1.6 litre formula introduced only last year, rather a 2.2-litre V6 twin turbo with no energy recovery system.

Asked their opinions, the teams, as ever, demonstrated that their opinions are somewhat polarised.

"It's a good idea," said Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost, whose team has yet to officially confirm an engine deal for 2016 and whose problems in this area - along with sister outfit Red Bull - sparked the move by the FIA. "We will support it because we want to have this new engine - at least to have the possibility to choose something, to bring up a new engine for lower costs because the current power unit costs a hell of money. b) to be flexible, c) we will have a new sound. And I think that most of the fans and those people here want to have another engine with a better sound - and the rest we will see."

Sauber's Monisha Kaltenborn isn't convinced.

"We are a customer for engines, so what our prime position is that we want the engine prices to go down and we believe there is room to do that," she said. "Looking at this alternative, we are a bit sceptical about this because, looking at other series you see how difficult it is if you have two kinds of different engines in one series. It's not worked in the past.

"We're seeing it now, currently, that there are a lot of issues attached to it. That's one point. The second one is it's meant to have parity with the current engine and that's a complex area. It's not easy to achieve that. And moreover, there's a world out there and we have to move with that world. Hybrid technology, you might like it personally or not - but that is the demand on the market today. So we have to also cater to these demands, particularly the engine suppliers, so I believe it's also not going to be very good for the image of Formula One - we've tried to move away from such technologies which are irrelevant for the businesses of manufacturers. More importantly we actually should try to get the prices down, which in our view is absolutely doable."

"I agree with both of them," said Lotus Federico Gastaldi. "It will be good from my point of view, our point of view it will be good for the sport to have this new engines running.

"It's very important, as Monisha said, that the price comes down - we're obviously also buyers. So, yeah, I think it's important to move into that direction and keep the prices as down as possible in order for all of us to be more competitive."

"I think we need to welcome anything that is designed to make the sport more sustainable," said Manor's Graeme Lowdon, "and hopefully, as well, put back into the hands of the teams a little bit more about what they can control.

"None of the teams here make engines and therefore you can see that there's frustration among certain teams where they don't have the ability to fully influence their position in the Constructors' Championship. There's no championship for an engine manufacturer and yet it has such an enormous influence.

"That said, if there is a dominant engine and you have it in your team, then that's obviously a great position to be in and everybody will be pretty happy with that position. Equally, it there's teams in that position, there's going to be teams in the opposite position. Ideally what we want to see is teams fighting it out on the race track."

Red Bull's Paul Monaghan was brief and to the point. "Red Bull will support it on grounds of cost and supply," he said.

In conclusion, Kaltenborn warned once again that the sport's powers that be should give serious consideration before making the move - though if the current manufacturers capitulate and agree to a cost-cap Jean Tost has said he would scrap the idea.

"There are many issues which you need to consider and we have communicated that to the FIA, particularly talk about parity on the performance side and that's not easy to achieve," she said. "You're talking with these engines, for example, about refuelling again so to get that parity in with the hybrid engine is already an issue in itself. Then of course, if you look at the financial side of it, what savings we had from stopping refuelling, you're again bringing those costs in which are not small costs, if you have to introduce that.

"So we've also communicated to the FIA that we will watch this tender process, we're not saying we're totally against it but you really have to be sure what you're doing here, from a commercial perspective, from a technical perspective and for image reasons of Formula One. That's all we are saying, to just be careful before you do something which until now another series had not really turned out to be a success."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Forbesy, 16/11/2015 1:29

"If you're going to have an alternative form of engine, you might as well make them screaming 10s and/or 12s."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by petes, 14/11/2015 19:13

"As the minor partner in the arrangement, Tost will kowtow to whatever Dieter decrees. So his opinion is worthless here.

The manufacturers have the upper hand though and can make this abortion go away, without having to even contemplate capitulation (Monisha's word). All they have to do is stay staunch and they can have FIA and FOM on the run."

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