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Formula 1 threatens an even greater penal code

Formula 1 could threaten an even greater penal chaos in season 2018 than this year. Background: In the new season, even fewer engine parts are allowed than current.

If teams 2017 are allowed four combustion engines (ICE), turbochargers (TC), MGU-H, MGU-K, energy storage (ES) and control electronics (CE), the limit 2018 is allowed to fall to three ICE, TC and MGU-H and even two MGU-K, ES and CE.

Actually, this tightening of the rules is supposed to save costs. But Honda believes that this shot will go completely backwards. Sports director Yusuke Hasegawa declares that it will be very difficult for some manufacturers, including Honda, to come with only three drive units throughout the season.

“Three engines will not reduce the cost,” he makes clear and explains: “The challenge then is, improve the performance of these three engines. We will then need a higher budget. The FIA wants to reduce the costs, but the exact opposite is the case.”Mercedes Motorsport Manager Toto Wolff also does not believe that the costs of 2018 will decrease significantly.

Although you have”fewer hardware”–i.e. fewer engines,

you would increase the development costs, to reach the required longer maturities of the aggregates. For comparison: after 16 of the 20-season races, nine of the 20-year-old pilots, almost half of the field, have already received at least one grid penalty, because they have exceeded the permissible engine maximum.

Explode the development costs?

Consequently, manufacturers must pump a lot of money into the development in order to get 2018 with only three units throughout the season. Otherwise, there is a massive threat of reprisals in the starting lineup. This year all 20-pilots already have the fourth power unit in the car at this time. 2018 would mean that all drivers would now have received at least one penalty.

“There is a rule, and now it is a little late to change it yet,” explains McLaren Race Director Eric Boullier and recalls: “This rule has been known for several years. Everyone has worked very hard to make the engines more reliable next year.”He believes that 2018 is”very limited”. He does not believe in a short-term change that would only be possible with the approval of all teams.

“I am not a friend of penalties against the driver. They look ridiculous,”explains Toto Wolff, referring to the 35-place penalty that Fernando Alonso was last picked up in Suzuka.”The last time I saw him, he said: We need to consider whether we can come up with a system that penalises the driver less,”Wolff ponders, but at the same time warns that the costs should not explode. The Austrian warns: “We do not want to bring a new engine to every race just because there is no sporting penalty.” It is also clear that financial penalties would hardly hurt the big teams. This one would probably simply swallow and then use more or less any number of engines while the small teams would look into the tubes.

But how many engines would be optimal at all?” That’s hard to say,”Yusuke Hasegawa ponders. 20-engines per year would, of course, be too much,”he is aware and explains that”four or five”drive units would be a reasonable number. I don’t think the penal system will change,”Eric Boullier wavers. However, he can imagine that small adjustments will be made to make it”easier to understand.”

“It’s still too early to talk about it,”he curbs expectations. The strategy group has not yet discussed this, although the issue is already on the agenda. The problem is by no means new. For years now, the Grid punishments have been repeatedly criticised. Toto Wolff takes it with gallows humor and explains: “I’ve been here since 2009, and we keep talking about the same things…”