Mercedes agrees to drop MGU-H for 2021


A meeting of the teams, manufacturers, FIA and the sport's commercial rights holder on Friday, has seen agreement on the 2021 engine regulations move a little closer.

Though strongly opposed to the dropping of the MGU-H post-2020, Mercedes has now relented and has agreed that the technology can be dropped.

When the initial engine rules for 2021 were first announced, Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault were adamant that they didn't want to see the MGU-H go, for while the technology has cost a fortune to develop it has become one of the finest achievements of the sport in its new hybrid era.

Though Renault has already relented, Mercedes' agreement is likely to put pressure on Ferrari, though the Italian manufacturer has other issues with the engine rules not to mention the seismic overhaul of the way the prize pot is divided and plans for a budget cap.

"We have given up on some of the stand points," said Toto Wolff, according to ESPN. "We have accepted to lose the MGU-H.

"We think in terms of technology it is a step backwards," he admitted, "but in terms of achieving compromise for the benefit of the spectacle, the MGU-H going, the revs going up, the fuel limitations going, I think we will have a louder engine, we will not be so limited by fuel.

"It's not the most sustainable message we are sending out but we can understand from a spectacle standpoint it is something you need to consider and accept."

However, the Austrian was keen to point out that Mercedes had not merely rolled over in terms of the rules, admitting that at a meeting of the Strategy Group he made it clear that F1's engine technology must remain road relevant, the German manufacturer currently using its phenomenal success in the sport in its marketing of its road cars.

"I had a bit of a moment in the Strategy Group," he revealed. "I had one major one where I needed to speak to my anger management psychologist, when we talked about getting rid of all fuel-flow limitations that we have, all fuel allowances and just completely open it up from the get-go now.

"I think we cannot close our eyes to what's happening in the world," he insisted. "Hybrid energy recovery systems happen on road cars, they need to happen in Formula One in my opinion, but equally we have to understand what the fan is interested in.

"It needs the technology message, it cannot go without the technology message in Formula One, but it needs to be at the level where we recognise the spectacle is important and shocking your senses with an engine sound is something where we can improve."

Following the meeting, FIA president, Jean Todt said he is aiming to present the final 2021 engine regulations by the end of June, though Renault's Cyril Abiteboul insists it could still take several months before the full regulations - engine, chassis and financial - are known.

"On most of the topics we have found an agreement," said Wolff. "There is a discussion around dyno limitations, we don't want to continue to out-grow each other with more infrastructure. So on the engine regulations we are pretty close at being able to tick the box.

"The only major thing we need to solve is that we are still spending a lot on engine development and what we need to avoid over is double-spending over the next years, continuing to develop the current engine and then also doing the new one."

In terms of the budget cap, he said: "This was a very good point where Liberty recognised that a cost cap cannot be an event but needs to be a process. It needs to go over several years and it needs to consider the various structures that have been put in place, they are taking our feedback on board and it is clear that we will all be protecting our structures in a way, we have all expressed that to them."

Although officially unconfirmed, it's understood the budget cap will stand at $150m, with a more equal sharing of the prize pot and Ferrari's historic bonus cut by half.

The budget cap will mean a drastic reduction in staff numbers for the bigger teams, which is one of the reasons they want it introduced in stages.

On the other hand, Zak Brown claims that there need be no major redundancies in Woking as the team is currently looking at expanding (again) into other series, most notably IndyCar and WEC.

"We're a nimble racing team," he told, "a large organisation, and we will be well suited to react to whatever rules are implemented. That's why we want to know sooner rather than later so we can start making the right plans."

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Published: 27/05/2018
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