F1 alternative engine voted down

The proposal for an alternative F1 engine has been voted down by the F1 Commission. However, it seems that during the discussions the various parties agreed to guarantee the supply of power units to all teams; that there needs to be a lower price for customer teams; that the power units need to be less technical (whatever that means) and that noise needs to be improved. The FIA and the manufacturers will present a proposal by January 15 that will solve the above problems. This will include a rule that will establish the minimum number of teams that a manufacturer must supply. The first meeting to discuss this will be in Abu Dhabi. There were four expressions of interest for the alternative customer engine, but the F1 Commission rejected the idea, although the FIA is saying that it could be revived if it is not happy with the proposals from the manufacturers.

56 thoughts on “F1 alternative engine voted down

  1. As soemone who writes technical and commercial proposals for a living lets hope that none of bidders put much effort into their tenders or expressions of interest.

    If you ask me they should be repaid their bid costs……

    Just pawns in game you don’t control.


    1. Agree with the point completely – however, this has pretty obviously (as anything can be in F1) been a non-starter from the off. The cynic in me wonders if the ‘bids’ where aided by those who were creating the bargaining chips…

    2. When you look at the time at hand to apply and the proposals that got in, I doubt any of them were in much of an illusion what needed to happen for this engine to be a real thing.

      Ilmore probably just put up some specs from their Indy Car engine, with minor adjustments (if at all), Mechachrome basicall presented their V6 3,4 l they have for GP2 and GP3 and said they would be able to adjust it. I haven’t looked more closely at the third company, but I would guess they also took things they had available with some prospect of what they would change.

      In two weeks there is not much more anyone would even be able to do. And as Cosworth mentioned, apart from adapting something already available, the cost picture and the time-line wouldn’t allow much more anyway.

      Off course if Red Bull would take that engine, I guess Mateschitz would throw some money at it to make sure it would be the engine to beat (helped by a favourable parity formula). But then, we just exchange currently dominant and influential 2 manufacturers by a dominant Red Bull+engine-manufacturer.

    3. I think they were asked to submit “expressions of interest” rather than full bids. Glad that it all came to nothing anyway.

    4. A fool and his money…..

      I blind man on Pluto could see there was never going to be a straight up 2.2 turbo after all this fuss of hybrids.

  2. “minimum number of teams a manufacturer must supply”

    I wonder if this implies it must be more than one. How can they insist a team takes on the runt of the litter (currently Honda). Surely teams must be able to decide to do what is best for them.

    1. I would read this as minimum number that could be supplied. So if Honda has steller 2016 then they MUST be in position to supply, say, three teams in 2017.

      I can’t imagine teams effectively being allocated an engine partner although Ferrari would exercise their veto 😉

  3. That outcome seems to follow the normal process of a patently absurd idea being floated in order to get the parties to agree to some kind of reasonable alternative.

    1. Hasn’t worked yet. All they’ve done is kick the can further down the road. Control is still with the manufacturers

      1. The goal was to get the manufacturers to agree cheaper costs and set minimum supply limits. The indicators are that this has happened. To what degree is the next move is the soap opera that is F1.

  4. Do you know if this means if RB will get a full “works” specification engine in 2017?

    Presumably they are stuck with whatever Renault can offer for 2016.

      1. With all that fizzy stimulant cash they can stump up like the true factory teams and create their own engine. Or alternatively just carry on whining like a bunch of bad losers…..

  5. Hah! Well that took long to despatch that particular idea – can’t say I was surprised. We will see what the manufacturers bring on Jan 15th. Can’t see Honda wanting that “minimum” number to be to high though!

  6. And so the continuing farce that is the FIA continues.

    Whatever happened to the days where the president of the FIA actually had some power (and was far from afraid to use it) – despite some of the insanity that resulted I almost miss them!

  7. Job done then, they got the current engine suppliers to agree to supply all the customer teams and at a reduced cost.

    That was the whole point of the charade, no?

      1. Of course he is the winner, depending on how you see the game. I believe he has single handedly maneuvered all players to:
        1. Develop lower engine costs to the customer teams.
        2. Assured a competitive engine to a major player (Red Bull).
        3. Solved the noise “problem”.
        4. Preserved his own power base, if only temporarily.

        I would call that a decisive solution to a pretty big mess we have seen hovering over the sport.

        Of course, how you reconcile lower engine costs with further development to “simplify” the technical aspects remains to be seen.

        1. I disagree completely. This has proved that he has no significant power over engine decisions. He failed to get Red Bull an engine they wanted. He created the noise problem.

          1. IIRC the original engine rules for this formula specified a minimum (and/or maximum) number of teams to be supplied, and guaranteed parity between supplies.

            Abandoning those tenets (when did that happen BTW?) created the problem we see now.

            Bernie couldn’t fix it by strong-arming. So he has arguably found another way to redress the balance.

            Now if the rules had been left where they were….

          2. Last counterpoints:
            He participated in the engine agreements and complained the loudest over the noise problem. Now it will be addressed.

            He has helped insure RB will have access to at least a Honda for 2017.

            Celebrating turkey day tomorrow, grateful for all I have and your continuing blog efforts and tolerance.

        2. I agree with Joe

          1. Develop lower engine costs to the customer teams. – Remains to be seen. Still dependent on manufacturers to reduce costs
          2. Assured a competitive engine to a major player (Red Bull). – Remains to be seen. They certainly didn’t get the engine they wanted
          3. Solved the noise “problem”. – Remains to be seen. This engine formula is geared towards efficiency. More noise = less efficiency
          4. Preserved his own power base, if only temporarily. – Again, remains to be seen

          All this episode has done is kick the can further down the road

          1. “All this episode has done is kick the can further down the road.”

            And that could also be considered a win for Mr. B.
            By floating the threat of an alternative engine at the mfg he at the least has them reconsidering their cost positions and the other issues cited,

            Can’t wait to see what comes out in the January next step!

        3. Maybe you have access to a different press release. The one I have seen, none of your points have been addressed. In fact, one might go so far as to say that Ecclestone has just been shown up as being powerless.
          I’m willing to bet come 15 January, the manufacturers will simply offer year old V6T hybrids as the ‘cheap’ option. A case of you pay your money and you take your choice.

        4. Agreed GeorgeK – you’re correct…Joe is incorrect.

          Power still resides with Bernie…he just uses it in more cunning ways nowadays because of this annoying obstacle called ‘democracy’ which gets in the way of making tough decisions.

          Bernie reverts to his reliable old tactic called “divide and conquer”…and “you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs”.

          Bernie (and RedBull) will win this power struggle…Mercedes & Ferrari will either provide cheap competitive hybrid power units with greater noise volumes…or they take the pain of having to waste millions of $$ competing against a much cheaper and simpler 2.5L, twin turbo engine with no KERS or fuel-flow restrictions…(and of course the Ilmore & Newey engineering skills as well!).

          Bernie, Horner, Marko and Dietrich Mateschitz have already got a plan in place – they did their ‘scenario analysis’ months ago…its basic business contingency planning….(why else would RedBull invest millions in Building 9 and a full engine test-bed facility – and hire Mario illien).

          Playing hardball with Bernie is a fools game and there will only be one winner…Bernie.

        5. “Solved the noise “problem”: This “problem” which he moans about continiously (in the 80´s, when he conquered the old turbos/manufacturers, it just were “the costs” 😀 ) has been “solved” already in summer, as the introduction of a second exhaust from the waste-gate was decided. And there was no Ecclestone involved. And which engine his allie in the War against Manufacturers, Red Bull, will get in 2017 has not been decided yet, doesn´t it? Furthermore, in earlier days, a phone call of Ecclestone would have been enough the get an engine. Now? Obviously not anymore…..in fact, the Mercedes customer engine went to Manor, not Red Bull. Are we experiencing the first signs of post-Ecclestonism??

  8. Just a question on the alternative engine. Could it have delivered the same amount of power, from the same 100kg of fuel and max flow rate of 100kg per hour. I thought the new hybrid engines were a lot more efficient.

  9. is the ..not enough noise…… really still of any real interest ?..haven’t heard any gripes about it for a long time

  10. Well, some common sense followed by idiocy.

    One cannot argue that engines are not too expensive, but the recovery of some development cost in the supply of customer engines may well be a condition of participation.

    To “fix” the non-existent noise problem is to make engines less efficient. A better solution would be to force Bernie to wear a hearing aid. It has been nice theses last two seasons being able to hear Lee McKenzie, who traditionally picks the noisiest place in the pit lane to report from. (Though Ms Gow is a close runner up)

    To make engines “less technical” sounds as it if were proposed by someone’s aged relative. (“Oh it’s all so technical, I don’t know how they can understand it”) Of course any change in the engine regs increases cost, because it requires design changes. The operation of the PU would then also have to change requiring software changes in the control suite adding yet more cost. Not to mention repackaging, redesign of test rigs etc.

    To impose a minimum number of teams per engine maker, looks likely to create a problem if no one wants a certain engine. What would be the penalty if not adhered to? And who would pay the penalty, the engine maker or its primary customer team? Half arsed blinkered thinking again. The same people that write regulations from the wrong end.

    1. I think you are confusing ‘can’ and ‘must’. The proposal was that an engine manufactured must be able to supply engines to a minimum number of teams, but if no one wants them they can supply a single team without penalty.

      1. I did not see “be able to” anywhere, just the “must supply a minimum number”.
        The requirement is only “to be able to” that does not impose any duty to supply other teams. ie No change from the present and a total waste of everyones’s time. However I think the intent was to force an engine provider to supply a team that asked for it; if that is the case, then both Ferrari and Merc would be in court taking action against the FIA very smartly as it could jeopardise their own chances against teams with superior aero. (viz Merc refusing to supply Red Bull)

  11. “The FIA and the manufacturers will present a proposal by January 15 that will solve the above problems.” Does anyone out there believe a proposal to solve the problem will actually solve the problem?

  12. will new rules give (or forbid) the right of a team to continuosly bashing / insulting their engine supplier if they are not winning a race??

  13. So again promises for the future which in the past have never been fulfilled.
    Oh wait, it was unanimous decided that drivers are no longer allowed to change their helmet design. That must have been a first.

  14. “However, it seems that during the discussions the various parties agreed to guarantee the supply of power units to all teams; ”

    Only Red Bull are engines, and that is because they didnt like what they had. What if all the customers reject all suppliers but 1? Can teams be forced? Hows it allocated?

    “This will include a rule that will establish the minimum number of teams that a manufacturer must supply. ”

    So, 4 suppliers.
    Supply a minimum of 2, so 12 teams covered. If there are 11 teams, one supplier breaks the rule, or one team gets engines from 2 suppliers?
    If the supplied team rejects the engine, then what?

    “that there needs to be a lower price for customer teams;”
    Well, you either re-spec the engines, or the manufacturers are expected to subsidize the smaller teams, while CVC rakes in profits? Or are the manufacturers accepting that they have been taking the mick with pricing?

    “that the power units need to be less technical (whatever that means) ”
    So, what?A whole new engine spec?

    “and that noise needs to be improved. ”
    Ah, this is so childish.

    “The FIA and the manufacturers will present a proposal by January 15 that will solve the above problems. ”
    Oh dear…………. So, nothing really, just another proposal……………….

    All this because Red Bull spat the dummy like the poor sports people they are. I said all along that they will get Renault engines this year. Its looking like i was right. No one single thing here gets RBR the engines they wanted. Merc just lowers the price, if they choose to, and supply other teams, meeting the minimum.

    Well done F1. Tell you what, how about spending loads of money investigating enforcing track limits. Thats the real evil in F1………………………

    Face…. hand palm…….


  15. Joe, what exactly is the definition of a ‘manufacturer’ in this context? If say, Mercedes were to hive off their engine manufacturing facility as a legally separate entity (e.g. Mermosport?) would they still be classified as a ‘manufacturer team’ or simply a ‘team’ and the engine manufacturing part as an external supplier as presumably Renault were (and still are currently)? They could then supply only themselves or just teams they wanted to free from restriction …

  16. The issue is cost, not complexity. If the Power Units cost £10,000000 the teams will pay up. If they continue to cost £20-30,000000 as I think it has been reported then it massively increases costs for the small teams.

    I thought the idea behind this engine formula was that costs were low as development was to be minimized and the cost spread over the 3 years it was in place for.

    Surely the flaw in the rules is that Mercedes was just better out the box and the others do not have the flexibility to catch them up. Honda has been awful this year as they had some fundamental design flaws. The Honda humiliation is also likely to put other new engine makers from signing up to manufacturing new Power Units.

    Surely what we need is for the engine token system to be removed to allow better in season development, with experimental engines allowed on Fridays. The limit to 4 engines per season can remain, but only for Saturdays and Sundays (or reduce that to 3 to account for no Friday running) Thus the engines / concepts can be tested in the real world, whilst ensuring the teams keep the emphasis on reliability too?

  17. Forget logic, all F1 is about is how much money the lawyers can screw out of the whole show. They took over the asylum ages ago.

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