Mercedes' Toto Wolff says a new F1 engine “would be disastrous for the sport” after Christian Horner called for a change in 2016.
Horner suggested F1 should introduce simplified engines
the season after next, saying it would reduce costs and could also be used to address the issue of sound. However, Wolff said any change in engine regulations after the significant investment in the current units – estimated by Horner at “close to a billion euros” – would be a bad move which would cost even more money.
“We are all talking about costs and if you would open up the regulations in the way it has been described in that press conference, that clearly means you don't care about costs because that would be like digging a grave for Formula One,” Wolff said. “We have spent considerable amounts in the development of the power unit, far away from the billion, I would say it's ten percent of that in our case.
“But anyhow, I think we need to be sensible and we need to come up with solutions which enable the small teams to survive and which still enable the big teams to showcase the technology. Reversing everything, changing the format, changing the engines would just increase costs, it would be the opposite for what we need for Formula One at the current stage.
“In terms of the governance, if we become insensible and if these decisions are being made for 2016, in my opinion that would be disastrous for the sport. We will be very vocal in addressing that issue.”
And Wolff suggested that Horner's stance was due to Red Bull not having to showcase engine technology as part of its business plan to race in F1.
“I fully agree that we have a big responsibility for all teams and we need to look at the costs but you can't turn the time back. Formula One is the pinnacle and the pinnacle of technology as well and it is important to attract engine manufacturers in the sport, and actually have brought Honda back into the sport.
“The current format of power units was actually being proposed by Renault back then and for us, as Mercedes, it's a hugely important showcase of technology, road-relevant technology, hybrid technology, the future. It helps us to attract sponsorship and for us, as a car manufacturer - and I guess the same was the case for Renault when they came up with the idea - that is very important. It's less important for Red Bull, for sure, but for us it's crucial.”