Formula One’s governing body believes progress can be made to bring down the cost of engines for struggling smaller teams. International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Jean Todt said he was hopeful something could be agreed when the sport’s strategy group and Formula One commission meet in Geneva on Tuesday.
“I am going to fight about the price of the engines for the small teams,” the former Ferrari boss told reporters in Abu Dhabi. “I will do the best. I cannot guarantee the result but I will really get into that. “On engines I think we can find a solution. I am optimistic we will get something,” added the Frenchman.
Todt said he would also again present broader proposals to cut costs that were rejected earlier in the year by the strategy group. He listed Formula One’s four priorities as being to reduce costs, optimise ‘the show’, make powertrains cheaper for private teams and to ensure all parties stayed in the sport.
“We are going to re-present to the different stakeholders through the strategy group the same proposals which were refused. But do they want a cost cap? Do they want to follow the proposals we have to reduce the costs?” he asked Formula One introduced a new and much more expensive V6 turbo hybrid power unit this season, replacing the old V8s.
An engine supply costs up to $30 million a year and is the single biggest outlay for the smaller teams like Force India, Lotus and Sauber. Engine costs are due to come down gradually by 2020, but even then will cost around 20% more than the old V8s, and there have been calls for a cap to be introduced.
Two struggling teams, Marussia and Caterham, have already gone into administration. “I think we need to be sensible and we need to come up with solutions which enable the small teams to survive and which still enable the big teams to showcase the technology,” Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said in Abu Dhabi.
The strategy group includes the sport’s five big teams plus the highest ranked other (Lotus at present), the commercial rights holder and FIA, while the F1 commission sees all stakeholders represented. Teams like Sauber, who are not on the strategy group, argue that they have no say on matters that hit them hard in the pocket.