Ferrari, McLaren lobby Merc over F1 future

The meeting in Canada between just some of the members of the F1 Strategy Group has certainly raised eyebrows—namely from Force India and Williams both of which are on members but not present at the meeting. Some innuendos that the two had requested that Mercedes represent their concerns in that meeting were denied by both teams.

The divide between teams on the notion of customer cars has ranged from the thought that it would be required of the big teams if the smaller teams failed to remain in F1 to the idea that the big teams are simply trying to take over F1 and shove the small teams out. The suggestion is that this was topic during that meeting.

The reports this week seem to be centering on the idea of engine development for 2016. If, and that’s a big “if”, the engine format is to change in 2017, then getting the parity closer for the final year of the current regulation would be a talking point. The request is to allow Renault, Ferrari and Honda to continue developing their engines through the next season expanding the current loophole in the technical regulations.

What could be the hang up? Well, Mercedes and their domination for one. Would Mercedes be willing to open the development rules up for the betterment of the sport potentially losing their domination? According to McLaren racing director, Eric Boullier, they may be:

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“It’s all about negotiating,” added Boullier.

“They are willing to listen, to be honest. They are already, and having talked to Toto and Niki they are concerned about Formula 1 itself.

“I’m sure there is some room for change.

“You just need to look at the whole picture.”

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The teams are facing a deficit and it is an interesting issue as this wasn’t allowed when Red Bull or Ferrari were dominant but it would be prudent to keep in mind that those eras were not engine-reliant so much as aero-reliant. The engines were frozen and very comparative in performance output as the technical regulations had been stable for several years. Some argue that will eventually be the case with these new hybrid power units given time. Regardless, Formula 1 is an engine formula these days.

Ferrari’s Marchionne weighs in

Some of the more interesting comments this week came from Ferrari’s boss, Sergio Marchionne, when he suggested that the big teams need to think of the sport and not themselves. He couched that comment with offering mea culpa on Ferrari’s part in the play:

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“This sport, the rules and the way they’ve been constructed are the result of a variety of attempts by people who have either been in leading positions, or near leading positions in particular seasons, to try to protect their competitive positions,” he said.

“Ferrari is as guilty of that as Mercedes is now. I understand it because we would have done the same thing had we been in that position.

“But is it the right thing for the sport? Probably not.”

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Marchionne suggests that Mercedes may want to lock the rules—which would favor their current performance advantage—but he reminds them that nothing lasts forever and that success is fleeting in Formula 1…using Ferrari as an example.

In all, the sport is facing serious politics at the moment and as we mentioned 24 or so months ago, the sport would be heading into serious political turmoil with these regulations and the future of the sport. Marchionne is right about the regulations being influenced by those in winning form and this brings us back to F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone’s, comments about the FIA and FOM needing to simply make the decisions while the teams can like it or leave.

Tough times in F1 and perhaps more difficult will be facing what we are left with after the F1 strategy group renders a decision on where the sport is heading in the future.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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Paul KieferJr

You don’t want the foxes to guard the henhouse anyway. So it should be in Formula 1.

DRS_Matt

Considering how ferrari is represented in the sport’s administration, how they benefit from the revenue regardless of performance, and the sheer span of MSchu’s domination, I’d move that they are much MORE guilty, but its still a very nice gesture by Mr.Marchionne. The rules will need to be changed if we dont want to lose a third of the big teams in the next few years. But mark my words: Ferrari or Red Bull’s next championships will be marked with a big fat red asterisk if it took bitching about the rules after only a year and a half of… Read more »