F1 Commission says no to cheap engine idea

According to Bild, the F1 Commission met and rejected the idea of a cheaper engine supply or B spec engine in F1…for which a tender has already been released with Mecachrome, AER & Ilmor responding.

Now I don’t read or speak German (although I can say Ich bin ein Berliner) but from what I can gather, the group decided that a compromise for cheaper hybrid engines could be reached for the 2018 season. Not sure why so long but that’s what the article says even though the tender is set for 2017. The article says that all parties agreed to work toward that goal. To simplify the rules and make the hybrids more cost effective, louder and easier for fans to understand. Somehow I suspect that the old notion that the engines are fine, we just haven’t done a good job explaining them was thrown out on the table for the cat to lick up.

No, I think fans get it now, many of them just don’t like it. That’s the issue. You can explain it until your blue but if some fans don’t like it, it doesn’t really matter how much you explain the tech. Perhaps they will have a better plan by working together for 2018? Can you handle two more years of this format? If you’re a fan of this format, you may be very excited about the news then.

Now that all seems amenable but in the meantime, we have hybrid engines and the supply of those engines costing $20+ million per year and it seems untenable according to teams like Force India and Sauber. Sauber voted agains the cheaper engine concept even though it rarely misses and opportunity to bemoan the lack of funds, outrageous costs of F1 and the new hybrid engines (with good reason mind you, they don’t have Ferrari’s budget).

Some suggest that the folks at the FIA and FOM (Formula One Management) expected this outcome and that they intend to take it to a vote in the World Motor Sport Council where they can overrule the teams with majority vote. It’s an aggressive move and it remains to be seen as to if they decide to take that tactic.

The stakes are big and no one want Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault or Honda to pack their bags and leave but perhaps this is the start of a dialog and it was prompted by a very Mosley-esque maneuver by demanding sweeping changes in order to get a compromise on a few changes that you actually wanted.

Hat Tip: Bild

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Johnpierre Rivera

this is really staring to take on the makings of a colossal battle within in F1. Dare I say way we are going to get is a massive in-family fight that will only leave the most bitter of tastes in the mouths of the all involved winners (the FIA?) or the losers (the manufactures??). well one thing is for sure it is going to provide plenty of copy to read and write about. Not so sure it will be all that fun though. Thanks NC for post this as soon as your found out..

Paul KieferJr

We don’t have to break out the shotguns and riot gear, do we? O_O!

Formula Future

Trying to forget for a minute about the high costs involved for producing these PUs, I think what fans want is outrageous performance and understanding what it’s going on and that can be achieved with the current format. It has already been proposed with the cheaper engin supply or B-spec, that is higher revs and no fuel flow limit. That would be sufficient to improve the show and maybe also a led light mounted on the car that clearly displays when ERS boost button is activated.

Alianora La Canta

I’m surprised the timescale got negotiated so early, given the engine manufacturers amortised the original costs assuming a period of stability between 2014-2020 (something which has already not been granted). That suggests that the manufacturers’ position is weaker than it might look – or they’re angling for further concessions from the FIA on other parts of the agenda.


No one should believe any two year time table promised by the works teams. its just a delaying tactic and they will have two years to come up with a new argument and excuses not to do it when that time comes. They cant be trusted. And in the end it doesnt stop them from refusing supply to teams they fear will beat them or supplying older spec engines for other teams which in effect creates a two tier system anyways. The only way to retain the current Formula requires three things, Supply to everyone without fear or favour, Supply… Read more »

Derek Andrews

Spot on i could not have put it better myself as long as it stays like it is now there will be only Merc. or Ferrai that will win and most likely it will be Merc. because i don’t think they have really had to push there P/U yet

Negative Camber

Precisely and I don’t think they will agree to all three of those either. Merc ran an updated version from around Monza onward and Lewis did well with it but they did not give it to the customer teams and Toto had some comment about risk and reliability and how they didn’t want to saddle customers with that. The engine freeze is really a major issue in this debate as well and it’s not been on the table at all. IF they’d lift the freeze and allow development, then the gaps would come down and you’d potentially have four engine… Read more »

Tom Firth

Got to say I’m not that surprised by this, annoyed but not surprised.

How long until the announcement the engine manufacturers and the FIA have come to a cost agreement on the manufacturer engines now? After all that’s what this was about, a chess piece in a larger game.

The Captain

So, nothing’s gonna happen on the cost front until a few years time when they’ll probably have recouped the R&D cost and could lower the price anyway (good luck small teams). Nothing is gonna happen with opening the restrictions on development since they’ll never agree on how to do that (so more Merc dominance 2016-18). But they’re open to gluing a tin can on the end of the tail pipe to make it louder, like a crappy Tuner Honda Civic.

This is depressing!

charlie white

Was anyone really surprised by this outcome? Of course not! Nothing, I mean, nothing will happen until 2 or 3 teams fall out of the series in the off-season or mid-season 2016 due to a lack of money and then, and only then, will it become a life or death crisis. This radical engine spec has had serious unintended consequences and there’s little possibility in turning back the calendar.

Patrick Chapman

I am not going to be so quick to write off Bernie and Todt’s cheap engine plan as at this point there is no real way of knowing for sure whether this is just being used as leverage to obtain certain concessions from the manufacturers or whether they are being serious about an affordable engine. If during January Bernie and the FIA publicly disagree and reject the manufacturers proposals and decide to take it to the World Motorsport Council then I would say that they are being serious and if of course they agree with the manufacturers concessions then I… Read more »

We all <3 Ricciardo

Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more efficient to subsidize the R&D of all the engines than set up a cheap engine tender and hope it goes through. Whilst people usually don’t like subsidizing companies with large market power, seems like a win win solution

Big Orange Paul

“Simplification of the technical specifications of the Power Units” sounds like a step backwards to me. I guess LMP1 truly is the pinnacle of technical innovation in motor sport now.

The Sarcastic SOB

LMP is definitely the Pinnacle.
But simplification and relaxation is urgently needed. There is no earthly reason why everything except paint color needs to be specified. For example, I mean, c’mon “90 deg ” spec for the V? useless spec.


This makes the situation with RBR & TR very interesting. It was speculated that they’d take whatever engines they could get next year as a stop-gap until the B-spec was available in 2017, but now that appears to be out the window.

RBR still have no guarantee of a supply for 2016, let alone beyond that, and Mateschitz sounded pretty disillusioned with it all in his most recent comments.


So this will be the final nail in Red Bulls coffin,their exit is just delayed by a year. The engine manufacturers will still not supply them with engines. And by then Renault will have it’s own team and will join the others in denying Red Bull any competitive engines. Only the works teams will be able to win races and championchips, they won’t aloow customers to win. F1 needs an (or more then one) independant engine manufacturers for that reason alone. So i hope FIA and FOM wil still push it through via the Mototsport counsil. You think or say… Read more »

Andreas Möller

Apparently, the F1 Commission halted the “client engine” proposal because the manufacturers agreed to put forth a proposal of their own by January 15. So, the same manufacturers that got us here is now going to get us… where? Again, the lunatics are running the asylum. I see no reason whatsoever to allow the manufacturers/competitors this much control over the regulations. Isn’t that what the FIA is supposed to do? Set the rules, and whoever wants to participate is welcome to do so. Anyway, enough whining from me. I guess we’ll have to wait until mid January to see what… Read more »

Andreas Möller

I forgot – in the report from the F1 Commission, they mention the tender having generated 4 different proposals. So far, we’ve heard about Ilmor, AER and Mecachrome. But who was the fourth?