Formula ‘s new hybrid power units have certainly been a success for Mercedes AMG Petronas in 2014. The new engine regulations have been homologated or developmentally frozen since the beginning of the season only allowing for reliability upgrades since the opening grand prix in Australia back in March.
The series allows for a performance upgrade at the end of this season but Ferrari and Renault have been leading a request to allow for in-season power unit performance upgrades in order to help advance the technology as well as close the obvious gap to Mercedes.
Mercedes originally stated it was fine with allowing all teams this un-freezing and in-season upgrade but has since changed their position citing runaway costs and increased expenses to their customer teams. The price for a customer Mercedes deal is already hovering at $28 million per year.
In an interesting interview that Christian Sylt had with Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, the notion of lifting the freeze is good but the 84-year-old boss says that he’d like to see the ban lifted for only Ferrari and Renault in order to allow them to close the gap without also allowing Mercedes to retain the gap through their own power unit upgrades.
“The thing to do is to freeze Mercedes and not the others. It makes sense but you can’t do it. I was talking about this the other day and I said that if Renault up their ante Ferrari will and so will Mercedes and things will stay the same. Hamilton and Rosberg will continue to fight each other. They are competitive people. They want to win but it’s better if they are fighting with other teams. What’s going to happen is that some engine modifications that are already due to happen are going to be brought forward in the next few months but it isn’t going to make any difference.”
Ferrari conceded that Mercedes might also improve and that would leave the same gap between them but cited Ferrari’s mission of continued development and the amount of resources they spend on innovating new power unit systems, it seems daft to sit on them for an entire year before they can be touched.
Ecclestone admits that this gap will most likely remain and that it will make no difference to the raft of power unit upgrades slated for the off season for Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes. The performance advantage is already baked in and the moving target might be the chassis and aero design for 2015 if Ferrari and Renault-powered teams such as Red Bull hope to claw back any performance gaps.
Hat Tip: Christian sylt