F1: Alternative engine dead as manufacturers agree to cut prices

Drivers compete at the start of the Russian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit on Oct. 11, 2015.

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

The FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and the four F1 power unit manufacturers appear to have reached agreement on customer supplies – which means that the mooted “alternative” engine for 2017 is dead.

In December, Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone used the threat of a low cost engine running to different rules to force the manufacturers to find ways to reduce costs to customers, and also guarantee supply, so that a team like Red Bull would not find itself stuck on the future.

In order to stop the alternative engine plan being forced through – despite it being rejected by the F1 Commission in December – the manufacturers were asked to come up with ways of cutting costs and guaranteeing supplies to customers by Jan. 15.

If they didn’t, then Todt and Bernie Ecclestone could use the mandate they were given by the World Motor Sport Council “to make recommendations and decisions regarding a number of pressing issues in Formula One such as governance, Power Units and cost reduction.”

As had been expected, it seems that the manufacturers eventually agreed on a maximum cost of €12M ($13M), although it’s understood that the lower price will only apply only from 2018.

In return, the manufacturers have been guaranteed engine rules stability by the FIA until 2020, which means their investments have a longer life. There will also be a move towards standard parts, in order to cut costs.

Jean Todt had indicated last week that a deal would be reached: “I am optimistic. I hope that people have some good sense, because it’s our championship. It’s in their interests – it’s in the interests of the teams, it’s in the interests of the commercial rights holder. That’s why I think in a normal world, with sensible people, we should all be able to agree and find a good solution.”

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