Haas F1 could have big advantage in 2016

With all of the talk in Formula 1 centered on its ills, much of the white noise is focused on the cost of F1 at the current clip. It’s expensive. $200-400 million for big teams and the payout is structured to reward those at the top the most prize money for their efforts. This has left he smaller teams in a state of disarray, struggle or even bankruptcy (Marussia, HRT, Caterham).

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has spoken to Forbes regarding the cost of F1 and an idea that former FIA director, Max Mosley, offered as a way to curtail costs in the series. The simple plan was to give small teams incentives and freedom for development if they stay under a determined cost-cap or budget. Wolff thinks the idea is intriguing and so do we.

What is very interesting in this article is the comment Wolff made about incoming Freshman, Haas F1 for the 2016 campaign:

[quote_box_center]“New teams are outside the aerodynamic testing regulations so they are completely free and that gives a big advantage. Haas will come in with a big advantage in comparison to all the others.”[/quote_box_center]

Hass enters F1 with a Ferrari drivetrain package and while the freedom of development is there, I would caution Wolff’s optimism with the suggestion that the team are using a Dallara chassis and those haven’t proven to be on par with current F1 designs in the recent past.

That’s not to suggest they will get it wrong but we haven’t had a precedent of outstanding Dallara chassis performance eon the F1 grid for a while now. Perhaps the free development will allow the Italian chassis manufacturer and Haas F1 to really noodle the details and get it right.

Another interesting rebuke from Wolff is the cost of the new engine supply program. With many news reports suggesting the cost of a power unit supply program is around $30 million, Wolff says this is wrong:

[quote_box_center]“The old engines were somewhere between €10 million ($11 million) and €14 million ($16 million). If you had a Mercedes engine the price was around €14 million ($16 million), today you are around €16.5 million ($19 million). The wrong figures are flying around. I would say that if you look at the complete market, including our competitors and us, it costs between €15 million ($17 million) and €17 million ($19 million) – it’s about 15 to 20% more for the new generation of hybrid power units. I don’t know where the other figures come from. They are wrong numbers.”[/quote_box_center]

On one hand you have to suggest that the leader of Mercedes AMG Petronas would know what he sells his engines for but on the other hand, teams such as Force India—a Mercedes customer—have suggested the costs are much higher than this.

Hat Tip: Forbes

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MIE

Yes Haas has freedom to develop the aero of next year’s car in the wind tunnel in exactly the same way that Honda had freedom to develop this year’s power unit on the dyno.
Just because you have unlimited development potential doesn’t mean that you can use it effectively.

Negative Camber

That was my point as well, Dave. I am not entirely convinced that Dallara can provide a competitive F1 chassis as we have no precedent of that lately. Don’t get me wrong, I hope they do…very much so. I am just concerned that the advantage Wolff speaks of isn’t kind words but the truth…then I’m a Yankee so I’m biased. :)

MIE

The trouble they will have is estimating the downforce and drag levels of the other teams. Yes they have unlimited time in the wind tunnel or using OFF, but how do they know when they have reached a competitive level until they get to the track?

As for the cost of PU’ s, I thought Mercedes were the cheapest of all the manufacturers in F1, but there are differences in how the manufacturers cost for support through the year, so I don’t think it is so easy to compare.

rambaldi

And Renault have the most expensive, despite being the worst performing by a significant margin this year.

I wonder if the teams are amortizing the costs differently, hence the different figures. Merc are talking about just the lump and all that block while Force India include additional costs they have incurred such as all the software development and what have you.

Paul KieferJr

If you’re the one developing the engine, then you’re not worried about the markup. That’s what the other teams would be paying if they bought an engine from you. People always want to make profits. Otherwise, they wouldn’t survive.