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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Kasper said on 29th October 2008, 11:53

    I wont be at all surprised if Bernie is secretly working on a non-FIA GP1 series for the manufacturers to jump ship to when the FIA decides standard engines are happening anyway…

  7. stevepCambsUK said on 29th October 2008, 15:15

    heres a article from 5 years ago when Max started to think about standardising engines……

    http://www.racecar-engineering.com/articles/f1/274224/max-mosley-on-the-future-of-f1.html

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

    so they don’t leave their cars on standby when not in use?

  9. Gyula Bognar said on 9th May 2009, 16:21

    This may be just a short time stopgap or diversion in F1, before it falls apart, as we know it. In the next ten years, alternative methods of propelling cars will become widespread and races will reflect, such as electric and hybrid cars racing competitively. Formula 1 with the only internal combustion engines unfortunately will become obsolete politically incorrect and cost prohibitive.

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