Williams technical boss Paddy Lowe says the calls to scrap the reduction to three engines permitted for the entire 2018 Formula 1 world championship ignores the cost cutting and development drive installed.

Red Bull chief Horner has labelled the three-engine rule for next season “absolutely barking mad” and wants the rule change shelved. In 2018 each F1 driver will only be allowed three MGU-H, turbocharger and ICE units for the entire season before incurring  – with just two units each of the MGU-K, control electronic and energy store permitted.

The rules were sparked by reducing from five to four for 2017 and follows suit for the next season in order to keep engine costs down while pushing development for more economical efforts from manufacturers. Lowe has explained these points and feels the harder job falls on manufacturers compared to customer teams like Red Bull and Williams.

“The burden of that falls to the engine manufacturer,” Lowe said. “This was introduced in 2015 amongst reducing the costs of engines to customers so the price we pay for engines was reduced pro rata to the amount of equipment which has to be delivered so while there is a burden to the engines it is more on the manufacturers and the costs.

“As customers we see the benefit in the price tag. When there are good things happening in Formula 1 we should understand that. Going back to four engines which would inevitably require cost increases.”

Consequently, Lowe has dismissed requests for a rule change on engine numbers and accepts teams will have to grimace hefty grid penalties if they exceed engine number limits. Earlier this week, the FIA announced a tweak to the engine grid penalty rules with any driver exceeding 15 grid drops will automatically start from the back – a move to avoid the confusing and huge grid drop totals seen in recent season.

“The calls [for more permitted engines] fail to recognise the point and ignore the very point,” Lowe said. “You are always free to take a penalty but then that will cost you money and grid spots. Or you could run your engine lower, that is the formula we have.

“I’m not familiar with other engines but if you took a Mercedes engine today and ran it at lower power you could get through the season already on three engines. The power demand dictates the life to a large extent. That is the development game.”

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