Team Lotus principal Tony Fernandes has called on the FIA to clear up confusion over F1's engine rules after witnessing a heated debate between title rivals Christian Horner and Martin Whitmarsh during the Friday afternoon press conference at Silverstone.
Like Horner's Red Bull
operation, Team Lotus uses Renault
engines, but Fernandes called for clarity in the regulations after it emerged that Whitmarsh and McLaren
were angered by concessions apparently granted to the French manufacturer ahead of the weekend's British Grand Prix. During a frank exchange of views, Horner claimed that McLaren
supplier Mercedes had also been allowed to bend the rules slightly [see related story
], prompting Fernandes to suggest that it was not good for the sport to operate under ambiguous regulations.
"I've been focusing on these two in front of me [and], as someone who is very new to the sport, I think it's a little bit of a shambles that we're having these kind of discussions," he noted, "I don't think you have that in many other sports.
"The rules should be very clear, everyone should understand them and they should be pretty black and white. It costs the sport a lot of money. I think that one of the dangers of the sport is changing the interpretations - it's really got to be black and white and I think it can be. If you look at GP2, it's very clear. I run a GP2 team, [and] we don't have these kind of situations. Of course, F1 is technologically advanced and you need all that sort of thing, but I think the regulators of the sport need to make things clear so we don't have this ten per cent blowing, 50 per cent blowing, hot, cold, in between etc, and teams and engineers have clarity.
"Even over the last few months, we've heard of all the controversy in football, but the rules in football are clear, it's black and white, it's easy for the spectators to understand and I think that's a really big challenge for [F1] because I don't understand anything that these two have just said, [so] God knows about all the spectators over there [in the grandstands]. I think it needs to be simpler, and I don't think it makes a huge amount of difference to the people who are watching it."
Despite his outburst, Fernandes admitted that there were cleverer men than him that should be charged with simplifying the regulations.
"I'm the last person [to ask] because I don't understand half of [the rules], but I think there are enough smart people in this business to make the sport easier to understand," he confirmed, "I proposed it at the last FOTA meeting and I think there are some suggestions being put forward at the TRWG in terms of the terms of reference.
"I'm coming in as someone who is an outsider and saying how I look at it and making some suggestions. I think there are lots of smart people in there who can make it an easier, and more black and white, sport and I think that's what I put forward to FOTA last week This blown diffuser [ban], I think it should be at the end of the season. I've always said that. If you're going to make a rule change like that, where teams have invested, it should be at the end of the season. Now you're getting things being changed in practice sessions. I think this kind of greyness needs to be taken out. It has in many other motorsports, where it is black and white, and I think it would be good for F1.
"I don't know how to do it, but there are enough people in there who do know and I think there should be less energy spent on so much of the rules and the engineering ways of getting around the rules and they should just be black and white, so you know this is what you can
do as opposed to [spending] so much time trying to find ways to circumvent the rules. It should be very clear, and I think it can be done, because it is done in 99 per cent of other sports."