Renault seeks engine development freeze

29/03/2018
NEWS STORY

Just one race into the season and the whining from team bosses and power unit manufacturers looks set to drown out what little noise emanates from the track.

As Christian Horner calls for restrictions on engine modes in qualifying - though one wonders if this would have been the case had Red Bull secured a Mercedes engine supply - McLaren and Force India are calling for an investigation into the relationship between Haas and Ferrari, claiming that the American outfit is essentially running an SF-70H.

Now Renault has joined in the fun, calling for a freeze on engine development in 2019 and 2020 ahead of the introduction of a new engine formula in 2021.

Of course, such a move would make sense for the likes of Mercedes which has already expressed concern that were the new formula too radical it would mean two entirely separate programmes.

"The one thing we will not want to do is to have the burden of developing two engines in parallel," said Cyril Abiteboul, according to Motorsport.com. "That's one thing that is sure, but it's too early to talk about the technicalities of the way to achieve that.

"There are two things basically in our key message and our position at Renault," he continued. "First before committing to a regulation, we need to understand the bigger picture. Secondly we don't see it's acceptable or sustainable to have to work on two engines in parallel at the same time, for the simple reason that if there was to be a new entrant, which is what we wish, he will have a fantastic advantage in being able to focus on the future, and not to have to worry about the present and the customers, and so and so forth.

"I'm just discussing principles which I think are logical, and fair for the next steps," he added, anticipating next week's Bahrain Grand Prix where Liberty Media will reveal its plans for the engine formula from 2021.

Should the FIA follow Renault's advice, it would be interesting to see how a development freeze would go down with Red Bull which looks increasingly likely to have to use Honda power from next season and therefore in need of as much development as possible.

With this in mind, Helmut Marko agrees that there should be a freeze on development, but with one major caveat.

"If new engine rules are coming which we hope should be announced pretty soon, than we have to freeze the engines as they are now," he said. "And there should be a rule that every engine has to be within three percent, and that is to be properly fulfilled.

"Then we can live until 2020," he insisted. "Nobody has to make development on these engines, and that's the way to go."

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Published: 29/03/2018
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