Following most of the F1 strategy group meetings, the leaks on topics discussed are nigh on immediate. Yet after this week’s meeting, little information about what was discussed had emerge into the public domain.
The reason? The teams appear to have been hi-jacked by an unexpected show of unity from Bernie and Jean Todt and some are very unhappy about what is being forced upon them.
The strategy group’s voting system means the FIA and FOM have six votes each, while 1 vote each goes to McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams and Mercedes who are permanent members of this body. The highest placed other team from the previous years constructors final standings also are represented and have a vote.
Regulations for 2017 only require a majority decision from the F1 strategy group, which then sends the proposal up to the F1 commission. So, if the FIA and FOM vote together on any issue, the teams’ opinions are irrelevant.
The F1 strategy Group voted for a complete ban on wind tunnel usage, though at present there is an amnesty on the current wind tunnel time restrictions until February 28th 2016. This is due to the radical design changes proposed for the 2017 F1 cars, with wider bodies and bigger wheels.
The wind tunnel ban is for 2017 because any changes in the 2016 regulations since March 30th 2015 would require a unanimous vote at the strategy group. Since every team represented at the FIA press conference today opposed the wind tunnel ban, it must have been a majority vote for 2017.
Also, there voted through is a proposal for a cap on the price the F1 engine manufacturers can charge customers for their power units.
At present the price is between £15-20million a year, as compared to £7million in the V8 era.
The F1 strategy group proposal will see the power unit price to customer teams capped at £9million, with an older spec engine offered at £6m.
Mercedes are clearly most unhappy about this, and Toto Wolff implied at today’s press conference this may result in legal action.
Further, gearbox prices will be capped at £1.5million.
The proposals will go to the F1 commission in the next week and if approved on for ratification to the world motorsport council who meet on September 30th.
The F1 commission contains all the strategy group representatives, plus the remaining teams, Formula One sponsors and Pirelli.
It appears the inability of the teams to agree on cost control measures for month after month has provoked this response from the FIA and FOM. And they have little time to counter with other proposals.
(Full FIA press conference to be published here soon).