The sport’s powers-that-be’s hopes for a revolution in terms of the 2021 engine regulations have taken a battering that perhaps only Theresa May might understand as she continues to push her ‘solution’ to Brexit.
One-by-one the proposals were rejected, be it in terms of compromising the sport’s DNA and costs, even the move to ditch the complex and expensive MGU-H has been dropped as the manufacturers insisted that such a move would increase spending at a time the sport is seeking the means to keep it down.
And while all this meant the current engine manufacturers could breathe a sigh of relief, it was the kiss of death in terms of attracting new manufacturers to F1.
However, Toto Wolff, whose Mercedes power units have won 74 of the 100 Grands Prix held since the hybrid formula was introduced in 2014, questions the need to introduce new engine manufacturers, wondering why the FIA and Liberty Media were so keen to attract ‘fresh blood’ in the first place.
“Where does that thinking come from? Is it greed?” he told ESPN. “You want more than four? What do you want five or six? We should be happy with four premium manufacturers committed to the sport, already in there for a long time, trying to make sure that, foremost, we seek compromise with the loyal partners in there.
“And then we look at the ones who might join in the future and listen to them. But that is only the second priority.”
Asked if he regards the eventual climb down over the MGU-H as a victory, he insists: “No, it’s a purely economical factor because we have demonstrated to Liberty and the FIA that redesigning an engine is going to spiral the costs out of control.
“Even this engine now, which has more revs, more fuel flow, more fuel allowance will result in enormous costs,” he says of the tweaks for 2021 that have gone through. “Ideally, we would have liked to stay where we are, and not touch it.
“Engine performance is converging,” he adds. “We see that already – and I am curious to see where Honda are next year – but the engines are not far away from each other. Every time the regulations change, you’re going to have a wider spread between the best and the worst. So why do we change it?
“We wanted it to stay where we are and that is the compromise we’ve taken, but it’s still going to be too expensive in my opinion.”