F1 to hold engine summit

A few regulations changes have come out this week for the 2016 Formula 1 season and most notably they are centered on the power units. One of the issues is this ability to run a year-old unit, which Manor is doing now and Toro Rosso might like to do with Ferrari in 2016, and this is now seemingly a loop-hole that has been closed:

‘Only power units which are identical to the power unit that has been homologated by the FIA in accordance with Appendix 4 of these regulations may be used at an Event during the 2016-2020 Championship seasons,’

However, AUTOSPORT reports that the FIA will allow it on a case-by-case basis or at leas their sources are telling them that. There has also been some changes to the exhaust allowing for two exhaust outlets to increase the sound of the F1 car.

There is also a meeting this week with the FIA and the engine manufacturers to discuss the regulations moving forward. It is not know what will be agreed upon but reports I am reading suggest that there may be a push to remove the development token system altogether.

Key here is Mercedes and their baked-in performance advantage that will be protected until 2020 if they make no changes. IT will also mean that as of now, Mercedes and Ferrari have an advantage over the field and both will be keen to keep that advantage while recognizing that it may not be the best for the sport but it is for them.

This is where the FIA have to step in and make decisions that are best for the sport but how effective they’ll be at doing that remains to be seen. Certainly F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is no fan of the new hybrid power unit at all and has until February 2016 to make major changes to the engine format for the 2017 season.

If major changes are coming, it would behoove Mercedes to stand in the way of any changes for 2016 to try and lock in another title prior to big changes in 2017 and possibly the same for Ferrari although the Italian team would most likely favor ditching the development token system for the next 18 months…as I assume Honda and Renault would as well.

In the past, trick aero innovations, when applied to a fully matured V8 engine design, gave teams an advantage. These designs could be banned removing the advantage. Today, the advantage is much more integrated within the power unit and not that easy to remove without simply starting over with a new format which I believe Ecclestone would prefer so as to bring in new commercial engine builders to supply the grid.

We’ll wait to see what comes of the power unit summit this week but I’m not holding my breath. If the FIA and FOM get on board, will they make hard decisions that don’t please Mercedes? Is this Mercedes’ fault? Not entirely but unlike a dual diffuser that can be banned, Mercedes has a power unit that quite possibly shouldn’t have been brought into the sport in the first place. They have the best one but there is  complete incompatibility with the current power unit spec and advantage and the regulations that control how these power units can be developed.

I suspect that any big changes to the engine regulations for 2017 will still have a hybrid component and turbo to it but I may be wrong. There was even some rumors I read about allowing teams to run older V8 engines with FIA Balance of Power restrictions to ensure parity. That seems far fetched but you never know, Mr. E doesn’t like these power units at all.


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Nigel@Cass Racing

Hi Todd! Could you please expand on the following line from your piece: “Mercedes has a power unit that quite possibly shouldn’t have been brought into the sport in the first place”. Not disagreeing or anything, that is just the first I have heard of that and was curious what you meant? Thank you so much!

Negative Camber

Oh, yeah…that’s a little vague isn’t it? What I meant by that is that Mr. E doesn’t like the new engines at all and the cost of these engines and regulations surrounding them have really impacted F1 in a negative way (HRT, Caterham, Manor, FI and Sauber). If FOM doesn’t like them and didn’t want them, I was wondering if they should have been brought into the sport in the first place without some serious considerations to the impact it would have. I didn’t mean that to say Merc has an illegal power unit or did anything wrong, they have… Read more »

Nigel@Cass Racing

Ohhhh okay! I understand. I agree with you completely (I am a nut job that wants the v10s back……). I thought maybe you were saying that the Merc engine shouldn’t have been homologated due to split turbos or something. Thanks for the clarification!

Negative Camber

No, they have a great product for sure but thanks for calling me out on that, I could have been much clearer there.

Junipero Mariano

I wonder if an agreement over an increase in development and testing in conjunction with a moderate leveling of team pay could be made. The small teams get the increase in revenue they wanted and the bigger teams will be able to take the fight to Mercedes.


Jeez maybe one day someone will write an article that is actually perfect positive about f1 ……….. I won’t hold my breath

Negative Camber

I could wax poetic about what is great in F1. hopefully they’ll get this sorted so those things remain great.

charlie white

I believe all teams must agree to the rules changes. And that simply won’t happen. I bet this conference room is a very quiet place.


The other way is for Todt to actually step in and push for a change along with Bernie, as the two of them can outvote the teams.

Of course the chances of this are probably next to zero but a man can dream…


Allowing one year old power units may help Toro Rosso stay in the sport. However the dispensation used by Manor this season opened the loophole that allowed Ferrari and then Mercedes to supply different specification power units to their customers. While Mercedes argued that this was to protect their customers reliability (and based on the failures in the works team they may have a point), I’m sure all the customers would much rather have parity with the works teams. They are after all paying an extraordinary amount for the privilege of running the power units through the year. It is… Read more »

Negative Camber

LOL…you caught me. ;) Good eye. :)

The Sarcastic SOB

Nothing will come of this except perhaps some more “Bernie-isms”. ( I hope someone is collecting all these to publish later the way they did all the sayings of Yogi Berra.)
The “Genius” and his cohorts at RBR evidently lack the social skills needed to get along well enough with others to get them to compromise.
The funny thing is that they don’t even realize it or they’d put a muzzle on some of them.

peter riva

Is Bernie attending? Will he still control FOM by then?

Paul KieferJr

So, if you got rid of the hybrids and the turbochargers and you’re left with nothing but engine, what would be the cheapest that you could build?