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

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

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

  1. Brad P said on 28th October 2008, 11:32

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

  2. ajokay said on 28th October 2008, 11:41

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

  3. Pingguest said on 28th October 2008, 11:57

    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?

  4. Mystic Pizza said on 28th October 2008, 13:16

    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?

  5. The FIA’s response from Autosport

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/71797

    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.

  6. stevepCambsUK said on 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

  7. Ben Coburn said on 28th October 2008, 15:43

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. Cameron aka. SkinBintin said on 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.

  11. beneboy said on 28th October 2008, 19:18

    F1 is Carbon Neutral, it has been for several years.

    When you also take into account the amount of fuel that has been saved as a direct result of production car engines being improved due to F1 engine development then the sport is far more environmentally friendly than many would have you believe.

    Before aerodynamics started playing such a big part in F1 quite a lot of technological developments led to improvements for road cars: ABS, Active Suspension, Traction Control, Automatic Gearboxes and many more developments have their roots in motor sport.

    Standardisation does away with all of this and makes the sport little more than corporate entertainment, as a kid I just loved watching the drivers racing each other but as I’ve got older the technology side has increased my interest in the sport.

  12. Oddball said on 28th October 2008, 21:01

    True to form, Max delivers as usual on the arrogance front:

    The FIA has noted the press statement issued by the Ferrari Board of Directors.

    It seems the Ferrari Board were misinformed.

    Having been an avid fan (and by that a mean a real fanatic) for more than 30 years now, I swear that if Mad Max gets his will on this one, I will turn my back on the sport this time. I have considered it on a couple of previous occasions (e.g. when he got rid of the slicks) but have this far hung in there. However, my cup is now full!

    One of my favourite drivers, Jean Alesi, who can always be trusted to speak his mind (as opposed to most of the current generation of drivers), has again delivered too (from an interview in “La Stampa”):

    I have exactly the same thoughts as Ferrari. It’s an absurd idea, because with a standard engine you would not be contesting a real constructors’ championship. With standard engines, Maranello would be right to step out. The global financial crisis is no justification for the proposal. It has nothing to do with it, but is rather a very deep and very complicated political issue, about which I do not want to say any more… It is in effect asking BMW, Toyota or Mercedes to sack their engineers and buy an engine from the supermarket.

  13. Oddball said on 28th October 2008, 21:13

    @Sush #39.
    According to Autosport (http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/71780) their statement does not say that they

    want to win, no matter the costs

    To the contrary they state:

    Toyota are committed to succeeding in Formula One for the long-term and our objective in Formula One is to win – we exist to win and we are committed to doing that,” said a team statement.

    However, we believe Formula One must remain a technological challenge; this is an important point for Toyota and provided this does not change we expect to continue in F1 until at least 2012.

    (my emphasis)

  14. Oliver said on 28th October 2008, 23:51

    I’m sorry if I end up repeating what anyone has said earlier, I’m just mad at this whole idea. I will still read other comments eventually.

    This is a stupid idea. If we want to save costs, lets run the GP2 cars and call it F1. Everything there, apart from paint, is standardized. Why create a more expensive version of the same thing.
    This is not about ecology. Max has contempt for the manufacturers because they are more powerful than he is. He wants to drive them out at all cost, then control the independent teams like puppets.

    Why was ForceIndia not competitive this year, it was because they couldn’t afford to design a car for this year and then be forced to discard everything again for next year. With a stable long term regulation, teams will eventually spend much less than when constant revisions are being made to these regulations on a yearly bases.

    Max knows he wont live for ever so he wants to kill the sport before he leaves.

  15. The FIA have clarified their position , which is : “The FIA has offered the teams three options, one of which is the so-called standard engine, and another that the manufacturers should jointly guarantee to supply power trains to the independent teams for less than €5m per season.” Based on that (although I see two options mentioned not three!) , FIA should then accept tenders from any manufacturers who can supply engines for that amount or less , but let the existing manufacturers have the option of continuing with using their own provided they adhere to the rev. limits imposed by the FIA.

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