One of the most pressing issues Formula 1 faces is the engine regulation changes for 2021. It’s a galvanizing conversation with initial discussions centered around changes that F1’s technical boss, Ross Brawn, feels is important for the sport going forward.
Removing the MGU-H and adjusting fuel loads as well as increasing the sound of the power unit are a few of the key elements to his plan. These concepts were introduced late last year with the teams and F1 seemingly agreeing on the loss of the MGU-H and other key changes. Those ideas were to be solidified in a meeting last week but the teams had a surprise reversal on the initial changes sought by F1.
According to reports, the teams are now keen keep the MGU-H and have pulled the rug out from underneath F1 late in the negotiations. The key reason they are now wanting no changes to the power unit? The lack of new engine manufacturers announcing they will enter the sport even with the changes.
For Mercedes, Toto Wolff reckons with VW and Aston Martin being present during the engine discussions and still not committing to 2021, why should the current manufacturers scrap all of their investments in the current engine formula? Fair question but if you pin the decision on new manufacturers and not what fans or F1 feel would be a better formula, then you may be leaving out an important point.
“It’s still very much out for discussion,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. “We had a presentation that would have meant a redesign of the engine.
“All four currently in F1 engaged OEMs would have given their preference, with an understanding that we maybe need a bit more noise, and a discussion around fuel consumption that’s important.
“But just for the benefit of redesigning an engine without anybody else entering doesn’t make a lot of sense.
“So if somebody would commit to come into F1 in the way that all four of us [Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, Honda] have committed ourselves, go through the lows and highs, the expenses and investment that it needs, then let’s discuss engine regulations.
“But if nobody’s inside, it’s an academic discussion.”
Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner took a slightly higher road by suggesting that F1 needs to decide what it wants but it seems clear that their new engine partner, Honda, would like to keep the MGU-H. Regardless, Christian wasn’t advocating on behalf of Honda or the other manufacturers.
“Ultimately the governing body and the commercial rights holder have got to do what they believe is right for the sport,” said Horner.
“It doesn’t look like there’s anybody new coming in, so really it’s down to the FIA and Liberty to decide, what do they want?”
One issue that could be raised is the cost of a complete engine re-design should they remove the MGU-H and some may say that changing the regulations will force the manufacturers to incur large costs. I would simply suggest that this issue didn’t stop them back in 2013.
So where does this leave F1? According to Toto and others, there are no new manufacturers on board for 2021 and the current ones want to retain this engine. As I said last year, this year’s political negotiations may prove to be the most important in F1’s history. We’ll see.
Hat Tip: Autosport