Mercedes, Renault concerned over 2021 engine regulations

The FIA announced its general plans for the 2021 engine specification yesterday and it has been met with a lot of speculation, adulation and disdain depending on who you read/follow in the press and digital media.

That’s perfectly normal and certainly fair game. I am sure the FIA knew they would get a host of questions as the press release was details-light. That was by design, however, because they don’t want to unleash all of the details as big teams would already start working on the engines now and that’s not quite what the FIA wants. In fact, they won’t release the details until approximately 2019 according the reports.

The opinions I am very keen to see are those from Mercedes and Renault as they were the two teams that led the push to hybrid engines and that’s exactly what Autosport offered up today.

“Despite maybe what FOM and FIA would say – what is put forward is a new engine,” Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told Autosport.

“That’s really for me the most fundamental element.

“We need to be extremely careful because each time we come up with a new regulation that will come up with a new product; we all know the impact.

“It’s going to open an arms race again, and it will open up the field.”

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff agreed that this is, in effect, a brand new engine and we all know how that goes.

“When you look at the bullet points presented, it looks like no big change and is superficially similar – but there’s massive change in there.

“It’s all-new engines, with new harvesting and deployment strategies for energy.

“All of us accept that development costs and sound need to be tackled, but we shouldn’t be running away with creativity in coming up with new concepts, because it will trigger parallel development costs over the next three years.”

While I agree that it is a new engine, I guess my thought here is that weren’t we always going to be changing the regulations in 2020 and doesn’t that mean that an engine change is very possible?

When the sport established the hybrid power units, they said in 2014 that these were the regulations until 2020 so at some level, we had to know that things would change and given the lackluster success the hybrid has had with fans, surely the teams knew the sport would move in a slightly, if not drastic, direction?

If I am Mercedes, I want the regulations for the engine to stay the same or thereabouts because they have the best on the grid and perhaps Renault are concerned as they are making ground on the hybrid design or they are concerned over an arms race and the money that will cost. To those ends, Renault have suggested slight changes instead of a new specification.

“Renault’s proposal for six months now has been to keep the current engine but waiving any restriction in terms of fuel quantity, plus moving the fuel flow limitation and also the rev limit,” added Abiteboul.

“The great thing about that proposal is you could do that without having to wait until 2021.

“The world is changing quickly; by 2022, a number of car makers will have moved to something that’s more electrified than today, so I think the timing to decide now what we want for the period 2021 to 2026 is maybe not appropriate.”

Well, that’s one way to look at it and spoken like a man who represents a manufacturer. Mercedes has a similar refrain and depending on how you read it, a slight warning to the FIA.

“We are not learning from our past historic experiences,” said Wolff.

“It should be about optimising the deficits we have with the current engines.

“If you tackle those deficits and have a convergence over the next 24 months there’s not a lot wrong. The costs have been spent.”

The FIA and the F1 Group hope new engine rules will attract new manufacturers, but Wolff said it would be a mistake to ignore the interests of those currently competing.

“F1 needs to stay attractive for the current engine suppliers and then F1 should be attractive for new entrants,” he said. “This is the order of priority.

“We need to enter into a dialogue now to come up with a concept that functions for everyone, and we are keen to enter into that.”

I am assuming Autosport reached out to Ferrari and Honda for comment but they say in the article that neither have commented. Perhaps not a huge surprise from Ferrari but I do wonder what Honda make of this having spent three year sinking cash in a black hole F1 program. Would the change be welcome or feared?

Again, is F1 worried about having an engine that is reflective of car makers showroom floors in 2026 or are they interested in great racing? If it’s the latter and they are worried about cost, I suggest going to a V6 twin turbo or a V8, calling it a day and getting on with racing. That’s possibly silly of me but then I am sure the new owners will have to coordinate a compromise of some sort.

We have a long way to go until 2020 so let’s see what pressure Merc, Renault and others place on the FIA and F1 and whether or not these veiled threats will resonate with the F1 owners.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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charlie white

<—-Awaiting Ferrari's response and long running threat of leaving F1 coming in five, four, three, two…

Tom Firth

Hehe. It wouldn’t be unexpected certainly

Tom Firth
charlie white

And there it is. Thanks, Tom!


The usual toys out of the pram. Liberty need to call them on it or it’ll go on forever.

Can anyone give a rational explanation for why they get such a monstrous historic payment? And why no other teams get one, not even McLaren (50 years in F1, many championships) or Williams (45+ years in F1, many championships)? Typical Bernie deal, and the sooner it’s broken up, the better.

Salvu Borg

Bravo Marchionne in your chose of words “global nascar”. THE HONEYMOON IS OVER. Brawn with his brand new hat and his newly found burger gulping toilet blocking bosses are pushing out a lot of sweet sounding words, denominator among them being the engine. liberty has fooled many people into relaxation mode after the once before them tried all they could to milk-out as much as they could out of F1, What liberty is doing/is after is no different at all “MAXIMIZE THE MILKING OF F1 MUCH BETTER THEN THE ONCE BEFOR US DID”.


The milking of F1? Surely that’s most obviously being perpetrated by Ferrari, whose greed has seen several teams disappear from the sport.

Salvu Borg

Those that disappeared, at least most of them did so because they went playing games that they could not afford. With the engine rules Liberty are pushing out, they are pushing F1 down the route of horse racing. by making statements that it is about entertainment and dropping in a disco to prove themselves they are driving F1 down to bellow club level racing. by eliminating modern day cutting edge technology and going for a high revving unlimited fuel consumption easy to make specification engine that is easy to build and plaster with stickers and than share most of its… Read more »


I’m taking my football and going home! Good… leave! I can get another football. I like the Ferrari, they are one of my favorite teams but am very tired of their quit threats. No single team is F1. You see it in business all the time… the guy nobody thinks you can live without leaves… guess what, life goes on and is sometimes even better because new ideas can now be brought in without the resistance of the former ‘know it all’ nobody wanted to upset.

Salvu Borg

In regards formula one matters FERRARI was and always will be the one that everybodyandhisdog will be waiting for their response/reaction.


I suspect I’m very much in a minority, but I’d really like to call Ferraris’s bluff and – if absolutely necessary – be prepared to watch them walk away. My suspicion is that they need F1 at least as much, probably more, than F1 needs them. And although they’ve been around since the start, the idea that they should continue to have an absolute veto over changes in the sport AND an additional $70m (per 2017’s payments) just for being there is nonsensical. There are a bunch of fans out there who really couldn’t give a stuff about Ferrari (me… Read more »

Salvu Borg

Somebody once said “FERRARI is the biggest thing in the sports, and that the F1 is FERRARI, and FERRARI is the F1, also said that the biggest interest of other teams was always to challenge FERRARI and so race against FERRARI.


Just because someone once said it doesn’t make it so, now does it?

Nor does saying the name of a team in CAPITAL LETTERS make them any more important.

Salvu Borg

They FERRARI are really that great/that important no matter if some thinks otherwise, it will not change all that.

Salvu Borg

be assured that both FERRARI and Honda are of the same frame of mind as both Renault and Mercedes as regard the F1/FIA power unit changes.
Maximum thermal efficiency possible is the way forward and there could be no return from that objective for the four manufacturers.
What the FIA/F1 has pushed forward got RBR and AM recruiting the ex FERRARI engine guru and McLaren written all over it.

Negative Camber

No doubt, they’ve spent a fortune on the technology so I would imagine they will have a similar feeling about it. Then you never know with Ferrari, they could play a few games here. Renault, Ferrari, Merc and Honda will all be jockeying for a regulation set that flatters their innovation and tech. Pop some popcorn and get ready for the showdown.

Salvu Borg

Agree, the real “showdown” have yet to start. On one of the other pages you and someone else touched upon the “real” rule of JT in all this, I too was trying to figure out his real modus operandi in this latest “show down”. My opinion, and mine only, JT favors/champions the manufacturers over the valve cover plastic sticker brigade, To me it seems he have changed the modus operandi he used in dealing with MR F1, again in my opinion, it looks more like JT decided to give R Brawn and co all the rope that might be “needed… Read more »

Salvu Borg

While we formula one followers spare and opinionate on this and that/for and against (the 9 point new road map pushed forward) the real things that matter are mostly not being talked about, these are, This confrontation is between the commercial rights holders and the manufacturers and some of the teams, with the FIA not really involved but just taking a seat and looking on. This confrontation is all of Liberty making, because it all got to do with them trying to maximize their returns/dividends. This liberty push will most likely lead to the manufacturers and some of the teams… Read more »


…”I suggest going to a V6 twin turbo or a V8, calling it a day”…

Where did you get this idea?
btw, I’m suprised you didn’t write …”at the end of the day”…)

Negative Camber

Just making it up as I go along. ;)

Salvu Borg

“I suggest going to a V6 twin turbo or a V8” First and last I myself heard it was from the cat-piss-in-a-can-producers.

Negative Camber

Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault all have concerns over format and would like to stay with current engine architecture. They can argue costs and R&D and have a good point. On the other hand, the series needs to consider long-term as well. These are those situations that begat compromises when Bernie was in charge. Let’s see how Liberty handle possible veto and other pressure. Will be interesting to see.

Tom Firth

Yes it will. Rather looking forward with interest to how they manage this.


Based on what is currently in the Merc and Ferrari showrooms I am all for the sport going that direction :-) Seems like Ferrari, Merc, Aston have no problem at all selling and producing extremely powerful hybrid v8’s and v12’s for the showroom during this “hybrid” era. Hell, Merc made a car WITH and F1 engine in it!