[tps_header] FIA has published a ‘call for expressions of interest’ for building an alternative engine for 2017, as the current engines are too costly for every team to be able to afford it.[/tps_header]
The F1 cars are currently powered by 1.5 liter, V-6 turbo, hybrid engines supplied by four companies, namely – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda. These engines cost around £12.7m-16.2m per season for each of the ten teams. The issue started when some of the teams found it difficult to spend such a huge amount on engines. The FIA president Jean Todt entered into talks with the manufacturers to reduce the cost of the engines. He proposed a cost cap of £8.5m which immediately vetoed by Ferrari using the veto power it had received years ago.
The entire issue gained momentum when Mercedes refused to supply engines to Red Bull. It faced difficulty finding a new supplier as it already had to pay Ferarri an amount more than $30 million for year-old units and Mclaren blocking Honda to help. However, Red Bull is said to have set a deal with Renault and will use its unbranded units after developing them.
This is when Jean Todt and the other F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone decided to introduce cost effective alternative F1 engines and they published a ‘call for expressions of interest’ to get suppliers for alternative engines from 2017-19. These engines will be 2.2 liter, V-6 twin turbo with no energy recovery system and will compete with the existing engines under an equivalency formula. They insisted that all the teams should have economical options available with them at any point of time.
But, manufacturers of the existing engines are still unconvinced to run the championship with an alternative engine. Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said the FIA’s latest move was “what they said they would be doing” following the breakdown of talks over engine supply in F1. “I don’t see how you can balance it really in a way that it would not be damaging,” Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff told reporters. “What you have to do is make sure that there is some kind of engine parity between the two concepts. How do you do that?” he added.
However, this can be a trick by FIA to make the existing manufacturers cut down their prices as FIA, President, Jean Todt has indicated that he will drop the plan for alternative engines, if the manufacturers agree to reduce the costs. He also said if they are unable to find a compromise, he is absolutely confident about the new engines.