While Formula 1 works to approve cost reduction concepts such as reduced wind tunnel time, as well as CFD, the sport is tip-toeing around the elephant in the room which is the current V6 turbo hybrid power unit specification.
This continues to be the topic on the table and while teams used to spend £15-20 million per season for the 1.6-liter turbocharged V6s, that’s considerably north of the £7m during the V8 era. but there is also the notion that Mercedes dominance in the hybrid formula spec is also preventing other manufacturers from entering F1 according to an article at the Independent. Here’s an interesting comment from the article in which F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said:
“The V6 is stopping other people that may want to be in Formula One from actually coming in because they think they have got to take on somebody who is doing a terrific job and try to beat them,” said Ecclestone. He added that the reason Mercedes was doing so well is that its former team director, Ross Brawn, helped to design the engine for F1’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
“The problem is Mercedes actually had a big, big start on anybody else because the guy who was there at that time was Ross Brawn and he was on the FIA working group with this engine, knew all about what the engine was going to be and Mercedes started working on this new engine before anybody knew there was going to be an engine change.”
As Christian points out in the article, the FIA opened a tender for new participants in F1 but were unsuccessful in gaining new entries from interested parties.
It’s also an interesting implication in that the team are still enjoying Ross Brawn’s presence on the FIA Working group which specified the new hybrid formula.
Williams F1’s, Claire Williams, said that the F1 Strategy Group needed to find a reduction of around £15-20 million to be effective and according to AUTOSPORT, they may have found that in a reduction of wind tunnel, CFD and gearbox costs. Perhaps the sport has found a way to pay for its very expensive V6 turbo hybrid or at least offset the cost increase to continue with this format? IF so, is it still a format that Mercedes will dominate and will that put off any potential new team interest in entering F1?