Threats or not, Brawn holding firm on new engine for 2021

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Yesterday I inked a piece about Lewis Hamilton’s displeasure with the three-engine rule for 2018 and today, Autosport has an interesting article about Ross Brawn and his reaction to Ferrari’s threat as well as Mercedes’s reaction to the proposed engine rule changes for 2021.

According to the article, you can go read it here, Brawn is open to ideas, concerns and any road-relevancy issues the manufacturers may have but he is also keenly aware of how silly the engine penalties have been in 2017. He also is relatively convinced that the engine must change from its current format.

“It [the current engine] is very expensive, it doesn’t make any noise, and it has componentry that, in order to try to control the number of uses, is creating grid penalties that make a farce of F1,” stated Brawn.

“There are big differentials of performance between the competitors and we are never going to get anyone else to come in and make engines.

“We have the four manufacturers we have now and maybe we will lose one or two of them if they continue the way they are. So we can’t leave it as it is.”

The teams did not receive the 2021 concepts very well with Ferrari threatening to possibly leave the series and Mercedes sounding very concerned over the costs involved and Renault suggesting a more transitional process with the current spec engine. Regardless, Brawn didn’t feel like there was enough radical change that would prevent all sides from reaching an agreement.

“If a manufacturer can demonstrate that there is a better way of doing it than what has been proposed, ie. it is cheaper, it is more appealing to the fans, it is something that a new supplier could engage with, then why not?” he said.

“We think with the expertise that we’ve got and the work we’ve done, these are the solutions that can work.

“If somebody suggests another solution that they think will achieve the same objective, we are not going to say no.”

However, one key battleground will be over whether or the MGU-H remains – with Brawn especially sceptical that it has a place in an F1 that has louder engines, brings down costs and is simpler and lighter.

“That is a difficult one, because I don’t see how it achieves the objectives,” he said. “I don’t think if you put those objectives down, how does it achieve it?

“So it is a discussion point, but I think it will take some convincing.

“If you look at the set of objectives that we all agreed to – it is hard to see how it meets those objectives and I am not sure it is road relevant anymore.”

The rest of the article has more information and comments from Brawn but the above quote got my attention as it relates to the need for a change and the need to avoid the engine penalty issue. In another Autosport article, there was this notion that McLaren actually gained from amassing a new engine inventory by taking penalties and this led some fans to wonder if teams might take early season penalties to amass a larger engine inventory than three for the 2018 season.

This article from Brawn is more prescient to the current hill Formula 1 has to climb to reach any sort of bipartite, tripartite or even practical new Concorde Agreement—to borrow the former agreement name. The talking has just taken a turn down threat road and Brawn’s reaction is the answer to Sergio Marchionne’s threat. Pop some popcorn, this is going to get interesting.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Fred Talmadge

The current suppliers, especially MB, are probably more in favor of the current regulations because of their investments and success. I would be curious what people who are not in F1 but potentially could what they would like to see.

charlie white

““If a manufacturer can demonstrate that there is a better way of
doing it than what has been proposed, ie. it is cheaper, it is more
appealing to the fans, it is something that a new supplier could engage
with, then why not?” he said.”

Get ready for the silence, Ross. It will be deafening.


I didn’t read the Autosport article but regarding the stockpiling of engines by McLaren quotes Boullier of doing just that! (

Salvu Borg

Ross Brawn is unsure how road relevance is the MGU-H, he out to go check with a world leader supplier such as Bosch how road relevant they think it is and why they are spending hug amount of money to be the first to put it on the road.
Regardless of what Ross Brawn has been saying since he donned his new hat, the immediate future of both F1 and road car engines is the use of ERS systems, both kinetic and heat because that is the means of efficiency.

Junipero Mariano

It’s a proposal. There may not be all the time in the world, but there is time to come to an agreement. I’d guess there won’t be quite as many spec parts, but still a single turbo with KERS. The MGU-H was always going to go, necessitating signifigant redesign. The level oF rancor about it surprises me. I figure that only Mercedes wanted to keep it, they’re the only ones who really got it right. So either F1 keeps going as it has, with Mercedes contiuing its dominance, or there’s a new engine formula. What would Ferrari, Renault, Honda want… Read more »

Paul KieferJr



Popcorn will kill you (medically speaking), and so will this decree by new colonial powers. Brawn is assuring us that new owners are prepared to ram their plan through regardless who likes it, or not. Watching this sad story evolving on my computer split screen parallel with (House) proceedings on US tax cut, I am unable to detect differences. Now I wish that anyone would explain what kind of problems FOG is claiming to resolve. I wish that Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda would launch a totally new series, free of FiA, Ecclestone and Liberty, including Brawn. Unfortunately they all… Read more »


+1 for popcorn being antithetical to good health. As for everything else… If you look at what Ross is proposing, it is almost exactly what everyone (other than Mercedes and the E-Fanatics) have been saying they wanted ever since they adopted the Hybrid PU. This is a negotiation strategy where the manufacturers are being forced to either say thank you and get on board, or say that’s not what they really wanted. If they get onboard, no worries and we all move on. If they don’t, then they’ll end up giving up something else to get their way on this.… Read more »

Salvu Borg

The confrontation LM have chosen to embark upon can lead to them losing all they invested. because they risk ending up with an asylum but no inmates.


This is negotiation, not confrontation.
The current PU paradigm is untenable and F1 had to change the paradigm to survive. This is what negotiated change looks like. The majority of the noise is just the posturing before the compromise. Interesting to watch and analyze, not much to get excited about.

Salvu Borg

Yes it is a confrontation and an intended one at the very start-line of what is LM’S (the company’s “only” business paradigm (power struggle) that was intended to take off with clashes that risks developing into an all-out confrontation. What LM is doing has been don before, there is nothing new in it, those ways of doing things are past their use-by-dates in F1, The new F1 ways of doing things is that of “by Consensuses and not by intended confrontation from the very starting line. It is LM’S current PU paradigm, a paradigm which is backward reasoning/backward chaining which… Read more »


Yep, I agree, its a negotiation process.
When you read over the Autosport article, Brawn is being very diplomatic. He acknowledges the concerns and issues the manufacturers have raised, offers a few potential concessions, states that they’re open to ideas, then restates his starting position and reasoning. Everyone is validated, no one alienated, beautiful.
I think it is interesting that Brawn is speaking for FIA and Liberty Media.
I wonder how well aligned they will prove to be?

Salvu Borg

The original LM push-out was nothing less then a clear confrontation right from the starting line, the sweet talking concern that came afterwards will not change that, it should have been done on their push-out and not after they fired the first shot. If there is a man at LM that know how backward reasoning/backward chaining the future engine plans pushed out by LM are it is Ross Brawn, nobody neither as an engineer nor as a man of his F1 caliber knows and can calculate any better than him that the future of the ICE both in F1 as… Read more »


Whoa!!!! Hold on here, this is getting serious!!!
What’s the deal with popcorn?
When did it become a health hazard, and what’s the hazard???

Salvu Borg

JAKO, SAKAE is medically speaking correct about popcorn.


Popcorn, or the salt and butter it gets smothered in?

Salvu Borg

Salt and or butter is in the popcorn so it is the popcorn which is “antithetical to good health”.


I’ve done a bit of google searching, and I think popcorn is not inherently unhealthy, the problems relate to how it is cooked, and the coatings that are applied.
This article is a good summary;
So, I’m okay with my air popped lightly salted popcorn, let’s not get onto the beer I use to wash it down ;-)

Salvu Borg

I too am OK with my smoking, even at my age, but by that I don’t dispute or mean smoking is not bad for ones health.


Grains are bad for you
Popcorn is a grain
Therefore, Popcorn is bad for you


I think that only applies if you are gluten intolerant, or have celiac disease. For the majority of people, grains and fibre are good for health.


See, that’s why I stick to beer…


Beer, always the safe choice ;-)
Unless you’re gluten intolerant, or have celiac disease……..


Dr, Weil

“The safety issue has to do with the chemical PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8), used in the lining of microwave popcorn bags”

Recomendation – google for concerns related to microwave popcorn.

It’s like with smoking. Nothing is proven as far as industry is concerned, but we all know the score.


Thanks Sakae, I saw those concerns about microwave popcorn bags.
Maybe I’m in denial, but I think that the information points to no inherent problem with popcorn, but we have to be careful how it is prepared and what is put on it.


Did anyone see the surprise reveal of the Tesla Roadster 2.0 last night? Its interesting to see the impressive specs and wonder why this car could not be converted to an F1 racer (I’m thinking 2021 rules here). There are not enough specs to do a side by side comparison. And who knows if it would last a race distance, but it appears from the numbers shown that it would be close. From a collection of figures I found on the ‘net (so take them with a grain of salt) it seems the Tesla is currently in the ballpark; Tesla… Read more »


I see Tesla are claiming, 1.9sec to 60mph, 1000km range AND a top speed of 250mph – thats 400kph! That’s going to be some machine.
Even if it isn’t the basis for the 2021 F1 car, it would make an excellent Safety Car ;-)