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Teams fail to agree on engine regulations

Despite the Formula One's paddocks fears of an engine war, the F1 teams have thus far been unable to come to an agreement on the direction the regulations will take in the imminent future.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has previously played down Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner's claims of an engine war in 2016.

Despite spiralling costs at the expense of multiple F1 teams, Formula One could be on the brink of an engine war according to Horner.

In the build up to this season engine manufacturers spent a great deal of time and investment on developing the new era of v6 turbo-hybrid power-plants, casting aside the old aspirated v8 engines.

This was a long drawn out process, where the likes of Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes invested years of development before the regulations even came into practice.

To prevent spiralling costs following the new engine regulations, an engine freeze was implemented into the regulations.

But after the inaugural season of the v6 turbo-hybrid era, Ferrari and Renault want to see an unfreeze to the current engine regulations as Mercedes hold a competitive advantage.

Currently engine manufacturers are able to make a number of changes between Formula One seasons.

In fact around 92% of the power-unit, including the internal combustion engine and hybrid system is available for alteration.

But to limit overall spending, engine manufacturers are given 'tokens' on a seemingly annual basis to spend on changes to their power-plants how they wish, with 32 tokens enabling manufacturers to actually change only 48% of the entire power-unit.

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

These regulations run through until the end of 2015 and were seen as the only way to limit costs going forward.

The irony should also not be lost that it was Red Bull's engine partner Renault who heavily pushed for the engine change to v6 turbo-hybrid engines and then got the manufacturing of the system wrong which put them at a disadvantage on the track and now pushing for a change in the regulations.

Honda have also joined Ferrari's and Renault's calls to change the regulations and yet Honda would have never returned to Formula One if it wasn't for the new engine regulations in F1.

The change was needed to keep Formula One at the forefront of technology, something which is in the very DNA of F1.

But something else which is in the very DNA of F1 is competition and politics and that is something that Formula One is now entrenched in.

Mercedes hold the competitive advantage and look set to dominate next season in much of the same way as they have this year, if changes to the regulations are not agreed.

However Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner is not adverse to scaremongering tactics in an effort to try and force Mercedes into a compromise. Calling for a potential engine war beyond 2015 if Mercedes do not agree to changes now.

So Formula One found itself at a stand-off.

With Mercedes holding the upper-hand for 2015, but the pact between Renault, Ferrari and Honda holding the power over rule changes for 2016 onwards.

Following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Mercedes offered a compromise which would have enabled the use of a five tokens update mid-season in July 2015. Enabling the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari the chance to push through some in-season advancements.

However the proposal was rejected as Renault, Ferrari and Honda wanted further scope for alterations.

With unanimous agreement required to change the rules for next season. In-season changes will remain banned in 2015.

But with a majority vote needed to change the regulations for 2016 onwards, it looks like Formula One will be set for further regulation changes in the future.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday November 28 2014

Time: 11:00AM


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