Honda join Ferrari, Renault is seeking engine unfreeze

Probably no mystery here but McLaren and Honda are also keen on relaxing the engine-freeze regulations for 2015. The issue at hand is the baked-in advantage that Mercedes has and will have for the next couple of years.

The regulations allow for performance upgrades but then freeze those for a period of a year. The amount of performance upgrades that can be completed is reduced year-on-year. No one, teams or fans alike, deny that Mercedes did a terrific job of building a hybrid engine for 2014 but the main concern is the lack of any serious ability to catch up with the the German carmaker as the regulations freeze development.

Domination of a sport is usually not great for producing compelling, close racing as the early 2,000’s showed us and teams are concerned that the comprehensive and clear domination Mercedes currently enjoy will be worse than past dominations.

To those ends, McLaren man, Eric Boullier, told AUTOSPORT:

“Doing something that will stupidly increase the costs is not what we want to achieve,” said Boullier.

“But it’s a competition and we can change the cars as much as we want.

“Within the regulations, I think engines should be frozen once every manufacturer has been able to develop their engines.

“If you disallow the competition, then this goes a against the spirit of the sport.”

If you are a Mercedes fan, opening engine development would most likely see your clear and pummeling dominance reduced and in much quicker fashion but for the good of the sport as a whole, it might not be the wrong decision.

Honda is entering the sport as a supplier for McLaren and the concern is the inability to make rapid adjustments to their hybrid should they miss an element or two in the process. Boullier said:

“They benefited from the fact that they did a very good job and they benefited from the fact that the regulations are locked with the engines being frozen,” he added.

“Most of the gains they have had come from the engine and they will for a couple of years until everybody can match them in terms of development.

“This is what they are benefiting from and if you could unfreeze the engine regs, you will see some catch up.”

I say kudos to AUTOSPORT for continuing to ask because it really is a major issue right now. With over a second per lap performance advantage, we all can easily write off the next two or three years in favor of Mercedes and while AUTOSPORT doesn’t always engage in opinion in their stories, I suspect they too know the danger of a pre-determined Formula 1 championship for the next two years.

In this light, Ferrari and Renault join Honda is asking the sport to consider relaxing the regulations to allow the sport to equalize its competitive level and provide a more appealing competitive racing series. I agree with them, if for the health of the sport alone, but if I am Mercedes I would have very little interest in compromising my advantage.


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