Honda’s Yusuke Hasegawa says the FIA’s plan to cut the number of permitted engine elements down to three per season will achieve the opposite effect of its desired outcome by raising costs in Formula 1.

The Honda F1 chief says producing a reliable engine to last multiple race weekends means each manufacturer has to invest heavily in research and development to ensure it remains competitive while also sustainable.

After Honda’s difficult return to F1 as engine supplier to McLaren, which will come to an end this year and it will switch to a new partnership with Toro Rosso in 2018, the Japanese manufacturer has been hit hardest by the rules with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne picking up the most grid drop penalties for exceeding the number of permitted parts this season.

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Alonso is on his tenth turbo charger and motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H), eighth internal combustion unit and motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K), seventh energy store and sixth control electronics unit – effectively double the number of permitted elements stated by the FIA rules for an entire season and still has four races remaining.

As a result, Hasegawa has warned of the “difficult challenge” of aiming to be competitive and reliable when the number of permitted elements is reduced in 2018 when each driver will be allowed just two MGU-Ks, control electronics and energy stores and three MGU-Hs and turbochargers for an entire season.

“It is a very difficult challenge,” Hasegawa said. “Of course for Honda and some of the manufacturers three engines is very difficult.

“Three engines is not making a cost reduction, so the teams are always encouraged to improve the performance of the three engines, so that’s why we have to put more budget for that. If the FIA is aiming to reduce budget with the three engines it is completely the opposite side.”

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So where is the break point where it is cheaper to have more engines?

Would having 5 engines allowed be cheaper than 4? And so on. At some point the engine cost will exceed the R&D which is where the limit should be if making it cheaper really is the objective.

This is simple economics 101, the less there is of something the more it costs.

Making more engines means lower costs due to quantity.

Lower cost pr engine doesn't necessarily mean lower overall costs!

10 engines at €100.000 pr unit is more expensive than 3 engines at €250.000 pr unit.

Limiting the number of engines to such low numbers only benefits the engine manufacturers as it limits competition and further justifies the heavy expense charged the non-manufacturer teams who lease those engines.

This is common knowledge to anyone with half a brain.  Trying to build something that last 2000 miles is always going to be more expensive than something that only has to last 150 miles.  Reality is the FIA needs to get out of the business of telling people how many engines they can use.  If someone thinks it is better to make them cheaper where they only last 1 race so be it, if it turns out an engine that lasts 2 races is the one that cost the least amount then over time that will be the one that the manufacturers will be making.  The teams will never want to spend money simply to spend money and will always eventually end up at the cheapest point.  

The other side is to reduce performance for longevity. Which is something we don't necessarily want to watch.