F1 Strategy Group eyes year-old engines as solution to costs

If you had your heart set on a return to less expensive, normally aspirated engines in 2017 I hate to be the one to tell you but that doesn’t look like it will happen.

An article from our jaunty friends over at AUTOSPORT reveals that the F1 Strategy Group met this week and discussed the very real opportunity of running year-old power units and to possibly classify that as a different spec engine as compared to the current spec or latest iteration.

It seems maybe that’s what Manor were speaking to Mercedes about last week in an effort to get year-old Merc lumps. The article goes on to suggest that this new power unit gambit could also be used in supplying Red Bull and Toro Rosso year-old Ferrari power units allowing the factory team to not be threatened about being beaten by those slick aero guys at Red Bull. What caught my attention int he article was this passage:

“The FIA said earlier this year that it was an oversight not to ensure the money required to pay for a power unit supply was tackled when the 1.6-litre turbocharged V6s were introduced in 2014.

Teams are spending around £15m-£20m per season compared to £7m during the V8 era.”

So there you have it, let’s make new regulations so we can continue through 2020 with the hybrids and come up with a way to make them affordable if only to let teams run year-old equipment in the process.

I also find it rich that they call the outrageous cost of the new hybrids an oversight given the cost of hybrid road cars comparatively and the big tax credits the Us government has to offset the retail price with in order to entice folks to buy them.

These are very smart people and I doubt there was one of them that didn’t know these new power units were going to be massively expensive and the new tech where all the big teams dump their resources. Just like Aero was in the last decade.

So if the FIA are not going to take cost-cutting measures seriously, how are the fans supposed to take it seriously? At this point, I have little understanding as to why this series and specifically the big teams and the FIA cannot simply move toward a more affordable engine format for the foreseeable future until such time as the financial crisis is relaxed.

Even if they weren’t prepared to walk away from rainbows int eh form of their sustainable hybrid technology, the least they could do is try and bring some balance back into the equation and let the teams develop them at will so they can get back to close racing, not just the Mercedes show until 2020.

If the FIA isn’t keen to find a more affordable engine format then clearly cost-cutting is a talking point but perhaps not much more. If that’s the case, then open the series up and allow multiple engine formats like WEC does and let’s get back to racing ans stop all this engine freeze hair-pulling and jumping about.


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Tom Firth

Wow Red Bull, how did 2006 work out for you on year old Ferrari engines …

Secondly, did anyone seriously think the FIA would take cost cutting seriously? Haven’t for the last 10 years been talking about it, why change now?


Uhhh, everybody is still worried about cutting costs. It’s not a cost isssue butna getting paid issue. First, hybrids are here to stay and I personally believe the knowledge and technological advancement gained is worth the the extra costs. Second, F1 needs to realize they are screwing themselves with the way they pay teams prize money. Smaller teams need to get a larger cut. F1 is leaving money on the table by not fully marketing F1 properly. They need to get with the times and realize the harm that these TV stations are doing to their sport. New mediums are… Read more »

Joe Mama

Endlessly convoluted rule-making is arguably the real problem with F1. NC, you started to say it in your last paragraph; if they’re serious about not just raking in profits, but being the premier racing series, open it up. The energy recovery systems are a great example. Instead of mandating widgets and architectures, do some math and figure out the higher order requirements that will drive teams to pursue energy recovery as a weight and power advantage. Then leave it to the teams to find their own way to the front of the pack. I believe if they are really sincere,… Read more »


What a mess. The only way to fix it is to change. The problem is that changing the engines will be seen as “Formula One the brand” admitting the green-thing was a bit of an error for the sport. The powers at be in F1 don’t have the testicular fortitude to do this. The “green” hybrids are like safety or patriotism, it is the third rail that shuts down any discussion.

Junipero Mariano

I don’t know that giving Red Bull year old engines is great for Ferrari’s reputation. Red Bull isn’t in it to win second. If they win championships on old engine designs, isn’t that even more egg on the face of Ferrari? You know for sure RBR won’t give credit for it! ;)