Toto Wolff says it is unfeasible to expect engine manufacturers to be 'charitable' when pricing its power units to customers, saying it is reasonable to expect teams to contribute to its development costs.
After its latest attempts to cut costs were vetoed by Ferrari, the FIA and FOM is forging ahead with proposals to develop a standard customer engine to be made available to all teams from 2017.
The twin-turbo engine will feature a simpler specification than that of the current generation V6 Hybrid power units and priced substantially cheaper, with the FIA confident it can equalise the regulations to ensure a parity in competitiveness.
Though the FIA has repeatedly expressed its dissatisfaction at the vastly increased cost of buying power units since they were introduced in 2014 – and admitting it should have imposed a price cap from the outset -, engine manufacturers have justified the prices as being in line with the complexity of their development.
However, while customers have argued that they shouldn't be penalised for such costs, Wolff says it is unreasonable to suggest they shouldn't play their part if they are expecting the best product available to them.
“Partners expect to have the most competitive engine and in order to have the most competitive engine, because its a competitive environment, we spend very substantial amounts in developing those engines. Nobody has ever asked us how we plan to recover those or if someone can contribute to help us to recover.
“You can argue whether the marketing benefit of the development spend is right or wrong but as a matter of fact we live in a world where we are all facing a commercial reality and that commercial reality is that we need to be as efficient as possible and try to recover the best possible amount.
Despite this, Wolff says Mercedes remains committed to establishing a direction for the good of the sport, even if it dents its own commercial obligations.
“I think you cannot expect any stakeholder in the sport to have a charitable approach, but you have to just - although optimising your own situation - find a compromise for the sake of the sport.”