F1 competitors forced into drastic cost cutting measures following action from FOM and the FIA

Breaking

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).

10 responses to “F1 competitors forced into drastic cost cutting measures following action from FOM and the FIA

  1. Capping the cost of engines and gearboxes I’m ok with, but how will the teams achieve the “5 seconds a lap” faster cars of wind tunnel use is banned? And how will that affect the supposed return of ground effect?

  2. Rubbish. They should reduce the usage not ban this is just rubbish good thing Redbull don’t yet have good engines.

  3. I believe that banning wind tunnels is totally the wrong move for two reasons.

    One, as Virgin/Marussia has shown when they came into the sport, relying solely on computer generated design and CFD was not enough to create a competitive racing car. Granted, Virgin was a newly created team with a totally new concept, but it showed that this is a long way and we’re probably not there yet, even after a few more years.

    Two, many teams own wind tunnels already and I really believe Claire Williams as she said in today’s press conference, that the cost savings from shutting down the wind tunnel aren’t that great. Just like any other great rule change, it would inevitably create massive start-up costs in another field, because no team would save the money when there are always other areas it could be spent on.

    That being said, I surprisingly liked what most team principals said earlier today and Franz Tost has again shown that he’s a straight shooter. I wish Toro Rosso was better placed in the championship so we could hear more from him.

  4. “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.”

    Ha, this implies that Merc have been pricing their customer engine program in a way that’s profitable to them to supply as many teams as possible. The new cap will mean they lose more since they supply more.

    • “”Ha, this implies that Merc have been pricing their customer engine program in a way that’s profitable to them to supply as many teams as possible.””

      I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. Other customer teams are benefiting from the continued development just as Mercedes do. So why should the manufacturer not charge a nominal fee for that? In the previous engine generation, customer prices could only get so cheap, because there was no development going on anymore and the manufacturing processes could mature over the years.

      It is indeed the FIA who needs to a) create regulations for all engine manufacturers in the sport that allows attractive pricing for customer teams and b) get all manufacturers to agree to a price scheme they can live with.

      In my opinion the FIA as well as Bernie as representative of the F1 owners have failed in both tasks, because we are presently in a situation where continued development is both allowed and needed, yet it gets progressively more expensive the more parts of the engine and its related components become frozen. The increasing limitations of the token system also generate another problem, since it is by now far too late for other manufacturers to join the sport, though it’s doubtful anyone would even want to after watching Honda’s situation.

      Frankly, I didn’t think far enough ahead when the new motor formula was introduced last season, because I was way too distracted by the sound issue, just like any other fan was. I am surprised and worried however, that those people who are paid to think far enough ahead made such errors in judgement we now see surface.

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