Manufacturers can’t afford F1’s new engines

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It would seem that the new hybrid engines Formula 1 ushered in back in 2014 have not only placed a serious financial burden on small teams—increasing their engine-supply costs by a factor of four or five—but failed to keep costs low. In fact, according to Renault, The cost to create the engine and be a supplier isn’t affordable either.

Renault is contemplating its future in F1 and while they claim to be considering a full move into the sport as a works team, there are some who believe they may exit the sport as well.

According to an article by Mr. Noble, Renault F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul said:


“The one thing I can say is that in our opinion the engine supplier model does not work with the new engine regulations.

“The level of spend is so high that you don’t get enough benefit as a supplier to justify the spend – particularly to catch up with people who have placed the bar so high like Mercedes.

“If Mercedes had not placed the bar so high then perhaps the spend would have been more contained and the whole positioning of engine supplier would make sense.

“But right now the boundaries are so far that we have to spend more. And to spend more there has to be more return including from a marketing perspective.”


Abiteboul reckons that had the FIA limited costs, then the performance disparity between makes would not have been as drastic as it currently is. The team have struggled with their hybrid power unit since its introduction and while Ferrari has made inroads over the winter, Renault have seemingly digressed.

It seems to me that the sport can’t afford the engine format it has adopted. It can’t afford the technology, performance disparity, supply expense and waning viewer numbers. On the other hand, perhaps the format becomes more affordable over time and we’re simply experiencing the brunt of the R&D up front. Time will tell.


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Paul KieferJr

So, if you build something that costs more money than God, was it really smart to think of one in the first place? My money says “no”. Keep it Simple, Simon.


Is it just me or is he complaining that Mercedes is too good. Also, didnt Renault ask for this engine format? I thought their “road relevance” would be more than enough to justify the cost.


yes, I think we are mostly seeing the effect of R&D cost – which were largely spent already, although the “in year tokens” won’t have helped upping spending a notch too.
The V10 and later V8s were quite expensive at their start as well, and that was in times when there was a tad less scrutiny on such spending.
The V8 only got cheap years after they were introduced and when their development was almost completely stopped and the engine cap was enforced by Mosley paired with the cap on amount of engines per season.

Formula Future

The very thing that still make totally sense is keeping any possible kind of energy recovery systems, including solar. Ok about limiting the amount of fuel available to cars but no flow limiter. the point is saving energy for deploying it when’s needed for the benefit of racing. Higher rpm is also way to go. totally pointless tire consumption management. And the proportions of the cars now they look like narrow and long, a Lamborghini Aventador could be a good reference even though it is obviously not a single seater.

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