Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has insisted his team's decision to veto the FIA's cost cutting plan has been made based on its 'commercial principles' given the funding it pours into engine production.
Earlier this week, the FIA confirmed Ferrari exercised its veto on a cost cap for F1 power units and gearboxes, a move that has prompted both it and FOM to instigate a tender for a different specification 'customer engine' to be made available to teams from 2017 at a much lower price.
With the clear implication of Ferrari seen as the FIA and FOM's way of putting pressure on it and the other manufacturers to co-operate on cutting costs or face being overruled, Arrivabene has defended the decision to exercise its right to veto.
Robustly denying it is a block aimed at harming smaller teams, Arrivabene justified the move from a commercial point of view.
“The veto is quite easy, we exerted our veto in compliance with our legitimate commercial right to do business as a power train manufacturer,” he said. “My answer was only concerned to the reason why we applied the veto. It is not a position against the other teams it is a position on our commercial principle. For the rest we are open to find a solution.
“I don't find any commercial entity who is giving its research and development work out for free or without a cost, so this is the principle.”
Arrivabene has also denied the decision has anything to do with not supporting competition within F1 and simply sees it as Ferrari defending itself financially.
“Why do I have to justify more?” he said in the F1 team principal press conference ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix. “Here we are talking about commercial rights and not talking about budgets or anything else. This is the principle. It has nothing to do with the rest.”
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, meanwhile, says he can understand the stance Ferrari is taking and appreciates the potential hit both Ferrari and Mercedes may take if the customer engine tender was introduced after the work and finance both manufacturers have poured into producing the power units.
“This is obviously a very controversial topic and like many things this is not black and white,” Wolff explained. “There were rules implemented in Formula 1 two years ago and we began work on these engines four, five years ago based on those rules. As large corporations we work on long-term planning, it is part of the budget process and R&D process.
“From that standpoint, part of this is a business case and you need to calculate how much you can charge for those engines, how much you can recover for those engines and Ferrari is a public company now so it is difficult as a commercial entity to just be confronted with the situation where price is being imposed.”