Ferrari and Toyota threaten to quit F1 if Max Mosley forces standard engines

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari, F1\'s oldest team, has threatened to quit over standard engines

Ferrari, F1’s oldest team, has threatened to quit over standard engines

First Toyota, now Ferrari is threatening to pull its F1 team if Max Mosley persists with his plan to make all F1 teams use the same engine:

The Ferrari Board of Directors expressed strong concerns regarding plans to standardise engines as it felt that such a move would detract from the entire raison of a sport with which Ferrari has been involved continuously since 1950, a raison d’etre based principally on competition and technological development.

However today brought further indications from the FIA that Mosley is planning to do just that.

Last week the FIA met with FOTA – the teams’ representative group – to discuss future engine regulations. Four days earlier the FIA had put out a tender inviting manufacturers to submit plans for a standard engine that every F1 team would have to use from 2010.

However after the FIA-FOTA meeting no agreement had been made on standardising engines. A joint statement by the two claimed the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems, to be introduced next season, would be standardised in the future.

Today a new statement from the FIA declared:

The FIA has received a number of questions from interested parties regarding that Invitation to Tender. In accordance with the FIA’s Tendering procedures, the replies are set out in the relevant section of the FIA website.

The Tender schedule for transmission-only bids has also been updated. Bids for engines and transmissions in combination and bids for the supply of engines alone must be submitted by 7 November 2008. A minimum of three further weeks will be given to those considering transmission-only bids.

A FOTA source told Autosport the six manufacturers currently involved in F1 (Ferrari, Honda, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes and Renault) have agreed not to submit a tender:

None of the FOTA members will apply. This has been confirmed by all the members.

Earlier today rumours arose suggesting Toyota would pull its F1 team and return to sports car racing (where it competed most recently from 1998-1999) if standardised engines were introduced. Ferrari have now said likewise.

Significantly, it was representatives from these two teams that represented FOTA at the meeting with Mosley – Luca di Montezemolo and John Howett. Presumably the other four manufacturers were similarly strong in their desire not to see standard engines. Honda’s Nick Fry and BMW’s Mario Theissen have said as much recently.

The obvious question is, why is Mosley continuing to push for standard engines in the face of strong opposition from the manufacturers? In doing so, he is risking driving them away from F1 – including Ferrari, the oldest and easily the most famous of F1’s participants.

Two explanations come to mind: either Mosley wants to drive down costs even further, or he wants standardised engines instead of standardised KERS, which he may think will improve F1’s credibility as a developer of environmentally-friendly, road-relevant technologies.

My money’s on the second one. What do you think?

More on the standard engines and cost cutting row

49 comments on “Ferrari and Toyota threaten to quit F1 if Max Mosley forces standard engines”

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  1. Formula 1 is going to end as a spec series. We already have standard tyres and electronics. In 2009 we’ll get partly standardized aerodynamics and KERS.

    I always opposed standardized components as they make way for a full spec series. Considering the current and coming spec and semi-spec components, are there any real arguments left against a spec series? No, not many.

    Max is proposing a spec powerplant, a spec gearbox, spec suspensions and brakes, etc. It’s only waiting for the proposal of a spec chassis.

  2. I can’t tell if this is Max doing his standard “divide and conquer” technique, or if he truly has gone insane on power since he was reaffirmed in post.

  3. DG, I think the point you’re missing is that the Manufacturers don’t want to build their own engine that has to be exactly the same as everyone elses. That not what Formula 1 is about…

    Those suggesting a fuel limit per race weekend have the best idea. Open up the regs and limit the fuel you can use. The manufacturers won’t spend more than they can afford to, they’re not stupid. And if you have an agreement that forces the manufacturers to supply smaller teams with engines/transmission/chassis that keeps the costs down for those who don’t have the huge budgets.

  4. Weren’t the teams meant to be helping to set the agenda for the future cost-cutting measures in F1?

    It seems that Mosley has gone ahead and decided that standard engines are the way to go, when the major teams/manufacturers are pretty obviously in opposition.

    I’d heard that this is the FIA’s normal way of prompting discussion with the teams (put an extreme proposal on the table, then work backwards from there) but putting out a tender indicates that this is almost definitely going to happen. Shame they haven’t made more details clear really.

    According the FIA website, we’ll know the winner of the tender by the end of November. At least it’ll keep the F1 news sites busy!

  5. Adrian – I can see that side of the argument. But there cannot be that much difference between F1 engines made by different Manufacturers? Could you tell a Renault from a Toyota if it didn’t have any badges?
    Don’t they have to conform to a particular specification already to be classified as F1 engines?

  6. stevepCambsUK
    28th October 2008, 10:27

    Max has capped high performance engines to rev no more than 19,000 times per minute for a few years now. He justifies standardisation by saying no road car will ever rev this high, that is probably correct. Next year manufacturers can develope their own kers systems tho output levels are capped therefore the team with the best system in 2009 will have a massive advantage untill the standardised kers system is forced upon the teams in 2010.
    I believe the cost cutting excuse is just a smoke screen. Who said F1 needs to make cost cuts in the first place? Yes the smaller teams would benefit but thats the only acceptable reason. I have my own business and if someone told me what to do id be seriously offended. Im so glad not one of the FOTA members have applied for any of the tenders. This hopefully will make Max realise he cant just apply his will on any business or groups, let the teams spend what they want because its their money, let them develope their own engines, kers, anything they choose. Yes there maybe rev limits, kers/turbo output limits etc etc but to me Formula 1 is the most exciting sport in the world and lets keep it that way, this weekend coming has the potential to be so exciting and dramatic, lets hope there are many seasons like this to come…..

  7. I just watched the petit Le Mans 10hr sportscar race from USA. It was fab, great overtaking, accidents galore, very different cars on the track. Cars running on petrol and others on diesel. Now that’s interesting. F1 is dead, killed by too mucj marketing, pathetic old men, too many girls too few real pilots. F1 s moribund.
    Only way out: ban refuelling, change gears with a clutch (and a wire), ban all appendages, including wings front and back. Slick tyres. Free engine size and some freedom on fuel tye, but fixed amount of fuel permitted on board. 1pt for pole, 1 pt for fastest lap, one extra pt if you win and do the hat-trick. BAN carbon fibre discs (steel discs=long breaking like before). Let miniskirts back, therefore filling up space between the wheels, allowing for contact between the cars (Pironi/Villeneuve great duel never would happen today, their cars would break at first contact!).
    in other words, makes sure these boys who drive today understand that if you wanna win YOU MUST OVERTAKE ON TRACK.
    Finally, go back to real tracks, hugging real landscapes, like SPA, which automatically make overtaking easier.
    Dreaming i know, which is why i say F1…*** !!!
    I am watching motogp and le mans. bye bye

  8. My MOney is on that Mosley has been getting some of those spanks on his head, and he’s suffering from a major case of concution.

    F1 without Ferrari? common people, what the hell is he thinking of. F1 will loose practically most of its fan base if the manufacturer teams leave. the germans will always have DTM to lean on, and Ferrari i suspect will put more weight on A1GP and make it a grander series. while competing in GT races with their production car based racers. (which is more market relevant)

    however, i will keep saying, that taking the engine race out of the Formula “1” is in itself ripping the soul out. Formula one should me limitless. and Max Mosley should go on and create a F2108, a series so green that it’s main stay is that its greentech has to be relevant in the year 2108.

    My Solution is go for even smaller engines, and perhaps even more constructors will come on board. turbo charged V6 anyone? or even a four pot… but let the limits be just number of cylinders, displacement, and turbo size, the output should be as maximum as the tech allows.

    leave F1 alone Max, dont go destroying it, the engine freeze alone is an abomination, and for those wimpering about costs, if you cant afford it stay out, simple as that..

  9. I’m sure the 19000 rpm rev limit has already saved billions in what would otherwise have been spent on further engine development. Aero. development from what I read is now the main money “consumer” , so FIA have to put a limit to that side of development – which I understand is already happening in 2009. Would it not save a lot more and make sense to prevent teams developing cars during the racing season ? Williams could even stand a chance of winning a few races again . Isn’t that what the FIA really want to see?

  10. Can someone please tell me why F1 or motorsport in general has to be ethical, eco friendly etc?
    Motoring, as in you and me on the M25, now that has to be smart, ethical and eco friendly.

    We should all drive at 50mph (tops) in our little electric cars, then go to the track or sit in front of the telly and watch wonderful fuel inefficient machines battle it out at 300mph. A few hours every two or three weeks. That’s the way it should be. And yes it would be very eco-friendly.

  11. Give the drivers peddle powered go-kart’s :)

  12. If standardised engines is what it takes to make Ferrari leave F1, then bring on standardised engines.

  13. Formula 1 has, financially speaking, two problems: too high costs and too low revenues. The FIA are only focused on the first problem, but make the first problem even worse. How on earth are teams to increase their revenues if races are dull?

  14. No disrespect to those other motorsport fans who enjoy standardised equipment and the benefit of seeing which driver is best. The reason I prefer F1 is because of the diversity (now that Schumacher has retired – natch). Regrettably, some of this is being hijacked whether through politics or “cost cutting”. If the FIA get their way and make F1 into another standardised racing series, how on earth do they think that the countries queuing up to pay exorbitant sums of money to Bernie Ecclestone will continue to do so when they could get a lower formula or Indycar for a considerable amount less (I’m guessing here I don’t know for sure).

    The other part to this is that we are led to believe that the European viewers are extremely valuable to the continued success of F1. So much so in fact that it was for this reason alone a night race was muted that needed to be run on European time. It has been heavily suggested to Australia that they will need to follow suit (alledgedly) to stand a chance of retaining the rights to their GP. Yet if the European market is so important to court – why oh why are they stripping away races from this area to less accessible ones that require several planes or long lorry journeys to get to these places, creating a bigger impact on costs and carbon footprints than the races alone could produce?

  15. The FIA’s response from Autosport

    Parts of the article I found amusing

    “The FIA has played down the significance of Ferrari’s threat to quit Formula One if a standard engine is introduced – claiming that the onus is on the teams, not the governing body, to come up with better cost-cutting regulations”

    Basically saying we will make totally ridiculous suggestions to force you to come up with something sensible.

    And this one

    “If neither happens. The FIA will take whatever measures prove necessary to preserve a credible world championship for both drivers and constructors.”

    Considering the FIAs actions recently they must have a different take on credible to me.

  16. stevepCambsUK
    28th October 2008, 15:11

    maybe carbon ‘offsetting’ is the answer to the environmental issue in f1….. each team must plant x amount of trees in the diminishing brazillian rainforest per season – as if this would ever happen but it beats green lines painted in the tyres!
    forget standard engines plant standard trees

  17. If you do actually want to limit fuel consumption, the best way is to have a limit on the max fuel flow rate into the engine, instead of a fixed size fuel tank or similar. This prevents stupid things like having the car run out of fuel on the last lap, and stops the race becoming any sort of “economy run”, while still forcing the engine people to be as efficient as possible.

    The only issue is that it puts a fairly direct power cap on the engines, which might have similar problems to the rev limiter, in that you can slipstream someone and just not have the last small fraction to get by.

  18. Keith asked: “What do you think?”

    I think Max is a blooming idiot! Why can’t he allow the sport to promulgate it’s own racing formula and be content to regulate safety, etc? Because it’s always about Max.

    Get rid of the pin head and let F1 (and all racing for that matter) go their own ways, either into a greener future or on the trash heap of spent fossil fuel residue.

  19. Toyota have denied that they will pull out, they stated they want to win, no matter the costs.

    be it standard engines or not, they want the F1 championship, which isn’t surprising… they’ve conquered all other forms of motorsport.

    trivia, the Toyota Supra touring car from 1996 (or 95) had 666 BHP, and it blitz the opposition…. cool or what?

  20. Cameron aka. SkinBintin
    28th October 2008, 18:15

    Apparantly the oil is going to run out sooner rather than later, so why not make the most of what is left? (semi joking, semi serious)

    Honestly, if Max makes changes to the sport that drive away the likes of Ferrari, BMW, Toyota, McLaren etc then I will follow them. If F1 because too much like A1GP I’ll just start watching A1GP instead. Atleast with that, I can cheer on New Zealand.

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