I was reading comments from former FIA president, Max Mosley, regarding the way forward and I found it interesting in that he feels reducing costs in F1 would be easy if we reduced the amount of engines available per driver per year:
“The current problem revolves round engine costs and supply,” he explained. “The solution would be rules allowing only two engines per car per season.
“This would simultaneously double supply and halve costs. Today’s engines would require only a modest adjustment to achieve that.”
Now, as he points out, this wouldn’t go over very well with the manufacturers and they would give all matter of disaster scenarios but he’s also right in that many of those “sky is falling” projections have never come to fruition in the past.
“The engine suppliers would immediately say it was impossible and would be a disaster,” said Mosley.
“But in the history of F1 there has never once been a case where such predictions have proved accurate.”
While that may be correct regarding their “disaster” comments, is Mosley correct in his assertions that reducing the engine supply would reduce costs?
Now that the format is specified and the R&D has been spent, perhaps it would in the short term for teams who are buying engines from Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda and Renault on a per unit basis.
Let’s say, for a moment, that a new engine spec was created for 2017 onward. A brand new specification with a twin turbo V8 with KERS for example. If they were only allowed two engines for the whole season, wouldn’t all of the R&D and simply be built into the engine cost?
I can buy a Go phone or burner but if I want something top-shel that will last, I pay a lot more for an iPhone right? If the current supply contracts for four engines is $20 million, surely that carries and amortizes the R&D costs into the price. If it were only two engines, would the supply contract be less than $20 million?
It seems to me that making an engine so reliable as to only need two for the entire season would be some very expensive kit and engineering and would cost a lot to develop thus meaning it would cost a lot to acquire for your Sauber or Force India chassis.
I see Max’s point as we stand today with the format already decided upon but I’m not quite sure manufacturers would charge less for even more durable engines. Maybe they would, maybe I’m missing a simple economic factor that Max is clearly more steeped in than I. Let’s face it, Max understands the series better than I do (he’s a sharp cookie) but in the end, I’m not sure if mandating a 2-engine regulation will reduce Sauber’s cost for an engine supply but I could be very wrong.
Hat Tip: Motorsport