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Ferrari and Mercedes at loggerheads

Ferrari and Mercedes are at loggerheads over proposed a moves to unfreeze the engine regulations.

Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix Renault joined Ferrari in calling for the current engine freeze to be lifted.

Under the current regulations, after a certain date in the calendar, Formula One engine manufacturers are not allowed to make any further developments to their engines.

Engine suppliers are limited to only being able to make alterations to engine mapping and software, with any changes to mechanical parts limited to special occasions with advanced permission in the case of reliability, safety or cost.

Since the change in regulations for 2014 with the introduction of the new turbocharged V6 hybrid power-unit era, Mercedes have dominated, either with their own car or with customer teams Williams, McLaren and Force India.

Obviously with Mercedes dominating, rivals Ferrari and Renault called for the engine freeze to be lifted, to improve competition.

First was Ferrari Team principal Marco Mattiacci and then new Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul [formally of Caterham] also backed the call.

That proposal was obviously put towards Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who to a point at least, backed the calls from Ferrari and Renault.

Ferrari and Renault want to lift the engine freeze to close the gap to Mercedes. They want to do this by lifting the in-season upgrade rules.

The German manufacturers however believe that their is enough scope to upgrade in the off-season and in a time of spiralling costs and wanting to lower spending, lifting the engine freeze would see costs increase dramatically.

Speaking to Sky Sports Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci argued that the costs would not increase that much and put forward the case for the smaller teams: I think that honestly, from our point of view, there is not a cost increase. The other argument is that if I had the possibility to upgrade my engines maybe the teams I supply [Sauber and Marussia] would have scored points and have extra revenues. For a small team not to have the possibility to catch up is much more dramatic than for a big team. he said.

So then next year we are probably going to have four teams that have Mercedes engines, so the situation for those small teams will be different, but for the other teams that have different engine makers the situation will be even more difficult if you dont give the possibility to upgrade.

This season Mercedes supply McLaren, Williams and Force India.

For 2015 this changes slightly with McLaren switching to Honda and Lotus dropping the Renault power-train for Mercedes.

With a change in rules needing a unanimous vote. It looks unlikely that the in-season engine freeze will be lifted as Mercedes and their customer teams are unlikely to vote in favour of the proposal.

You say in life it is important to try so we are trying to do our best because we have a strong belief that innovation is at the base of the success of Formula 1. So thats what were asking [for], Mattiacci concluded.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff responded by saying: We still believe its going to be the wrong thing to do because its going to increase the cost massively...'

...People talk about frozen engines and we should unfreeze them, well they are not frozen we can almost change 50 per cent of the engine for the next year.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday October 27 2014

Time: 12:00PM


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