15 November 2015
Wolff takes aim at customer engine plans
Toto Wolff: I think many of us and many of you share the opinion that the 'balance of performance' engine doesn't work...
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has called into question the FIA's much discussed plans to introduce an independent 'customer engine' from 2017, using the example of series' to suggest balancing the performance of two different powerplants won't work.
Ferrari's decision to veto cost cap measures for power units has prompted the FIA and FOM to forge ahead with more radical plans to develop a new specification engine to be offered to cash-strapped customer teams at a lower price.
Aimed at circumnavigating the high prices of the more complex V6 Hybrid power units developed by Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda, the proposal has irked manufacturers who feel they have spent substantial amounts of money developing an engine formula that could be undermined by a cheaper alternative governed by the FIA.
Indeed, Wolff is frustrated that series bosses have seemingly changed what they want to see from F1.
"I think there are some legitimate causes, the price is a legitimate question. Is the price good, low enough for the small teams? And that question can be raised. Is the engine and its concept right for Formula 1? That can be discussed.
“It seems to me that we are going in cycles, that at certain stages we want to be road relevant and the pinnacle of technology, want to attract constructors.
“But once you have the constructors on board like we have now, four constructors, all sharing the same opinion, then you believe, 'we don't want constructors in the sport, we would rather have it like GP2'."
With this in mind, Wolff contests that it would be difficult to ensure a balance of performance between two different specification engines because other series' prove it is hard to achieve.
"We hear the aggravation in GT racing and it does my head in hearing ideas,” he said. “I think many of us and many of you share the opinion that the 'balance of performance' engine doesn't work in Formula 1. It doesn't even work in any other category.
"It's like we are completely stuck, eyes closed, on what happens in other series and the problems around that, that somebody just pulls a rabbit out of his pocket and says, 'why don't we do that?'
“I'm not surprised to hear - let's call it 'interesting' - new concepts, from around the corner. That happens regularly."
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