The concept, as some thought, would be to lure manufacturers back into Formula One with an engine format they couldn’t refuse. At least that’s the conventional theory with the 2014 regulation changes moving toward a V6 turbo engine. When former FIA president Max Mosley spooked Honda, Toyota and BMW off (the economy didn’t help either), the concept was quickly ginned up to make a more affordable F1 via a budget cap and cheap engine deal. That’s when Cosworth decided to come back to the sport.
The model was to have at least four teams utilize the Cosworth engine in order to make the program affordable for teams and profitable for Cosworth. After three years, Cosworth has one team left and even they are looking for a new engine supply partner for next year.
Marussia, along with Caterham F1 and HRT were three teams, along with veterans Williams F1, to take advantage of the affordable engine package from Cosworth. The engine hasn’t been accused of being on par with Renault, Mercedes or Ferrari and as the small teams were miles away from the aerodynamic equality of the big teams, the lack of shove was a moot point.
The exodus of manufacturers gave F1 reason for pause and some felt that becoming more attractive through sustainability measures and a reduced engine format (something closer to what actual road cars are using these days) would make F1 the most appealing motor sport series in the world for car companies and engine makers.
The result? Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault. That’s it for now. Three engine suppliers for 11 teams. Why isn’t Cosworth on that list? According to Marussia’s Graeme Lowdon, the engine maker is not building a V6 turbo for 2014. This leaves the team searching for a partner next year and they have three to choose from…maybe.
“My understanding is that Cosworth won’t be making a 2014 engine,” said Lowdon.
“Obviously I don’t work for Cosworth, but that is my understanding. The three suppliers will be Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari.”
Ferrari said earlier this week they they were looking for engine partners. More mileage on their new engine; the more they can develop it and ensure they have a fiercely competitive engine for 2014. Perhaps Marussia would be a good solution…except they may not have the cash to afford a Ferrari engine supply. Mercedes may not be interested in selling any more engines as they supply themselves, McLaren and Force India. As for Renualt, they will be supplying practically everyone else in 2014… Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Lotus F1, Williams, Caterham F1.
So what do Marussia do? Simple, offer Ferrari development driver Jules bianchi a free ride for a supply of engines… problem solved for 2014.