The recent pace of the developments in the RBR/Renault story has almost eclipsed almost another which would ordinarily have dominated the F1 headlines. Jean Todt has decided to drop his FIA presidential modus operandi, which he described as trying “to have a harmonious situation and everyone going in the same direction.” Todt and Bernie acted together in the F1 commission to force through a cap on the price the F1 power unit manufacturers can charge their customer teams.
This regulation looked set to get the approval of the F1 commission for 2017 until Ferrari stepped in with their veto to prevent it. However, Jean and Bernie had a plan B – which was to announce they will consult on and hope to deliver a different engine specification for customer teams made by an independent manufacturer for 2017. The price of this power unit would be around half that the teams pay presently.
Inherent in all this is the implication that Mercedes and Ferrari are profiting from the sale of their F1 power units. Toto Wolff has since denied this, yet the FIA allege that both Ferrari and Mercedes do receive marketing benefit from their position as F1 PU suppliers. Further, for non-F1 competitors, the R&D for elements of new hybrid engines would be performed and paid for by their automotive car divisions. There is a suggestion that Ferrari and Mercedes may be using their F1 PU customers to defray some of this cost.
The instant response from many F1 fans to the Todt and Ecclestone ‘new’ customer engine proposals for 2017, may have been – ‘Ferrari will just veto this’. But they can’t.
Remove the confusing use of the negative and Todt is making it clear, to veto the new engine proposals, Ferrari have to demonstrate it is against their interest. A matter he does not believe to be cut and dry.
Ferrari may well though respond saying the loss of possible engine customers is very much ‘against their interest.’
The strangest part of the Todt revelations is that he claims when the Ferrari veto agreement was up for renewal in 2013, as President of the FIA he was possibly inclined not to allow it. “When we arrived in 2013, it was my first time as president of the FIA I was facing the consideration of the veto right, and I must say that I was very cautious, because it is like having a gun. So was I, as president of the FIA, prepared to give that?”
Yet because there was consensus amongst the all the other parties, Todt decided not to rock the boat. “I was surprised because Bernie as commercial rights holder was in favour of Ferrari having the veto, all the teams were in favour of giving the veto right too. So it would have been a bit strange that myself, I would have been against”.
And in that declaration, ‘Todt of the consensus’ is defined.
So do you the TJ13 readers believe the Ferrari veto should be dropped next time around in 2020?