After years of almost silence on all things F1, Jean Todt has leant his weight as president of the FIA to the cause of reducing the cost of engine suppliers to customer teams. Ferrari vetoed the proposal for a 12 million euro engine cost cap on the new V6 Hyrbid Turbos, which merely saw Todt and Ecclestone respond by inviting tenders for a new specification for a ‘cheap’ F1 engine to be built by an independent manufacturer for 2017.
Red Bull Racing want to take greater control of their power unit destiny as reported by TJ13, however their desperate plight for 2016 is not connected to the discussions which took place today at the F1 strategy group and F1 commission.
The ‘cheap engine’ proposal passed the F1 strategy group today because as a 2017 regulation it required just the 6 votes from the FIA and the 6 votes from FOM to hold sway. The teams’ 6 votes therefore were irrelevant given a simple majority was required.
The afternoon at a meeting of the F1 commission, the result was quite different because this forum includes all those on the F1 strategy group plus F1 sponsors, race organisers and the teams excluded from the F1 strategy group. 18 out of 24 votes were required to affect the 2017 regulations and the ‘new engine’ specification proposals appear to have failed at the final hurdle.
Despite this vote, the FIA has threatened to push through the ‘new engine’ proposal on the basis of force majeure, however this may prove a tenuous argument and could well end up in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Even if the FIA were to score a victory in this jurisdiction, F1 may simply see a return to the days where Ferrari and Mercedes threaten to withdraw from F1.
So for now, the ‘unicorn’ engine proposal designed to force Ferrari and Mercedes to reduce the prices they charge for power units to customer teams – appears to be dead in the water.