The three-engines rule set to come in for the 2018 Formula 1 Season, will remain in place next year despite opposition, according to FIA President Jean Todt, as that is what has been decided and to change it now would require 100% agreement from all teams.
The consensus across the paddock seems to be that it would be madness to drop down to three engines for the year, with so many teams struggling to get by on four in 2017.
The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team were hit particularly hard, racking up hundreds of grid penalties between drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne across the season, as engine reliability failed them, seeing one of their drivers starting from the back of the grid at half the races this year, with a whopping sixty-five place grid penalty handed down to Vandoorne at his home race in Belgium.
At the 2017 United States Grand Prix, only five of the twenty drivers starting the race were placed in the positions they qualified in, due to an array of engine penalties being handed out, which saw many people claim the situation was making Formula 1 a laughing stock.
However, not everyone is in agreement that the rule needs changing, and without full backing from all involved, there is no easy way of getting an amendment put through. Scuderia Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne had little time for the idea in a recent F1 Strategy Group meeting, and without the Italian squad’s support, the motion to make the change falls down. In stark contrast to their rivals; Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner has tried to get the regulation changed on numerous occasions.
Speaking to Autosport.com recently, Todt said he was no fan of the amount of grid penalties incurred by some teams and drivers last year, but said there was no way back now that the decision to drop to three engines, which has been in the pipeline for some time, has been made, unless everyone agrees to its reversal.
“It is something that was decided. Some people are still thinking why don’t we have one engine for the whole championship?
“It is not something that is new. It was decided years ago for 2018.
“We had some meetings with teams and the way the regulations are made and the governance are made, to decide now to go back to four engines, or let’s go back, we need to be in 100% agreement.
“And we don’t get 100% agreement, so we are down to three engines.”
Keeping costs affordable for all, is the main factor behind the engine cut back, with smaller teams being at a disadvantage in the past, when the rules were more relaxed and use of engines was unlimited.
Todt believes that to keep things competitive and achievable for all involved in Formula 1, drastic solutions such as a reduction in the amount of engines that can be used in a season, are necessary. With few alternatives available.
“I don’t feel it is easy to find the right solution. If you don’t do anything – it will be more expensive to buy the engines.
“For the FIA to decide that you don’t have limited amount of engines, it won’t be a problem, but it would be a problem for the competitors.”