Good news! Formula One’s manufacturers have agreed to a plan to cut engine costs and guarantee that no team be left without a power unit supply, reports Motorsport.com. Bad news! They will do so as long as the current and hated, quiet V6 turbo engines remain until at least 2020.
The good news part of this is truly good news, both for smaller teams struggling to afford to stay on the grid as well as for any team in the situation Red Bull recently faced where no one wants to supply a successful competitor with engines.
Team costs have been a touchy subject in recent years, with two newer teams coming and going from the grid, plus a couple other teams who almost exited the sport after them. No one wants to see the brand new Haas F1 team, Renault (née Lotus) or the reworked Marussia team Manor disappear.
Per Motorsport.com, the goal was to keep the costs of power supply deals under 12 million Euro (approximately $13 million US), which will likely depend on the use of more standardized parts as well as on a reduced number of gearboxes per season. Teams will only have three gearboxes per season in the future.
Furthermore, as much as some luddites hate F1's present V6 turbos, it’s a lot cheaper to continue developing under the current engine rules than starting from scratch on a new design. Every time you release a new rules package, teams spend a lot of time, money, and manpower looking for every possible hole in said rules package to one-up the competition.
We’re going to hear F1's quiet V6 drone a few more years, but the sport may emerge healthier as a result.
The bad news part of this is really a matter of taste. I miss the howling V8s and V10s as much as anyone, but the V6 turbos aren’t that bad to me. Honestly, it’s kind of neat to be able to hear other things going on with the cars, such as when tires slip through a corner. Other people have disagreed vehemently with my “not that bad” assessment, with F1 head honcho Bernie Ecclestone himself comparing them to lawnmower engines shortly after they were introduced.
These agreements will likely go into effect for 2018, Motorsport.com reports, pending final approval by the teams as well as the World Motor Sport Council.
While there was no official announcement made on any of this, Motorsport.com’s Jonathan Noble cites sources who have been closely watching the meeting in Geneva between the Strategy Group and the F1 Commission.
Of course, given that this involves a Strategy Group comprised of F1's most dominant teams, there has to be something in this deal for them. You see, the current engine manufacturers also didn’t want competition from a low-cost independent engine supplier. This agreement will prevent such an alternative independent engine plan from entering the picture until at least 2020, when things may be shaken up again.
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