F1 shouldn’t be too easy for new manufacturers

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

The attempt to lure new manufacturers into Formula 1 has been a noble effort by anyone’s measure for many years now. The idea that Vw might enter F1 as Audi or Porsche has long been a rumor but not entirely an unfounded one as the marque has occasionally dipped its tow into the lukewarm waters of F1 with orbital interest.

That still seems to be the case but while F1 is making the right regulatory moves to make itself enticing to VW—via ditching the MGU-H—there are some who caution the sport:

“I think it’s great that we have strong OEMs that are showing an interest in coming to the sport,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said. “Obviously, none of these major car companies wants to come in and face a situation that they are highly uncompetitive, and therefore we need to have systems in place that mitigate those very big risks.

“But, on the other side, F1 is the Champions’ League, and nobody can expect to enter the Champions’ League for the first time and be straight into the final and go home with the big trophy.

“We’ve been there since a long time, we’ve invested lots of money, sweat and blood and terrible results in order to get us where we are.

“Look at Mercedes’ history in the first three years of this being a works team. Look at the terrible Honda years that they faced, or the Renault days. All of us had to fight his way up to eventually win races and championships. So it’s a fine balance that we need to get right to attract newcomers as power unit manufacturers.”

That’s true, they did struggle in the beginning but they also convinced the FIA to change the engine regulations to a format perfectly suited to their engine development which begat seven championships and a clear, baked-in engine advantage. That wasn’t easy but it wasn’t hard either, not like what Ferrari, Renault or Honda have faced.

Wolff believes that it takes time to be successful in F1 as a manufacturer and he’s right. When you consider the last in, first out situation Toyota, BMW and Honda engaged in a few years ago, they arguably didn’t give it enough time to find the success they were looking for. But Ferrari and Renault are a bit different and even they are finding this current engine format difficult to deal with and they’ve been around much longer than Mercedes has in F1.

The key, it would seem to me, is to make the new regulations affordable. You can use a hybrid model and sustainable fuels if you’d like but ensuring that it is affordable is a real key to the longevity of any manufacturer or team for that matter.

If a team or engine manufacturer can enter F1 and be relatively competitive, they are more apt to stay for a longer period of time. I understand Toto’s point of paying your dues and the series being challenging enough to reward only the very serious and I agree to a point. However, it has been a road block to serious long-term investment in the past from some very serious manufacturers.

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Okay, I am totally puzzled. If they are “…ditching the MGU-H”, that would mean no turbo, correct? If not, will someone please explain?


And remember, the MB advantage (over 50% efficiency, which is amazing) is that their turbo is internal in the engine, not external. Does this mean they have to redesign the whole engine for 2022?