• Ferrari

Engine freeze against the principles of F1 - Ferrari

ESPN Staff
October 14, 2014 « F3 champion Ocon to make F1 debut with Lotus test | Bianchi condition 'remains challenging' »
© Sutton Images

Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci says his lobbying for a lift in the engine freeze regulations is more about protecting the principles of F1 than closing the gap in performance to Mercedes.

F1's engine freeze

  • Current rules state a certain amount of development can be undertaken on engines year-on-year, with manufacturers able to change 48% of 45 engine components at the end of the current campaign.
  • But changes are only allowed to take place out of season and will be scaled down from 2015 onwards. This season engines were homologated on February 28, after which point changes were only allowed for reliability, safety or cost saving reasons.
  • As a result of that homologation, Renault and Ferrari have spent much of 2014 on the back foot and unable to cut the advantage enjoyed by Mercedes power.

Mercedes is currently at loggerheads with F1's other engine manufacturers over whether more opportunities for power unit development should be allowed during the season. Under the current regulations, manufacturers have to wait until the end of each season to make changes aimed at improving performance, but a new proposal set to go in front of the F1 Commission would allow a mid-season upgrade.

In order to become part of the regulations, the 'engine unfreeze' requires unanimous support from the F1 Commission, but Mercedes has made clear it will vote against it along with its engine customers for next year. Ostensibly the dividing lines are based on Mercedes trying to protect its advantage while its rivals want to catch up, but Mattiacci insists the current freeze in engine development is against the core principles of Formula One.

"It is a principle and sometimes we fight for principles," he said. "I think the Formula One I grew up with was about innovation and catching up with the best. Now, aside from whether the engine unfreeze is agreed, we are working to catch up. That is the principle that we want."

He added: "In life it is important to try. We have a strong belief that innovation is at the base of the success of Formula One. We are a company that produces the pinnacle of engineering and that includes the engine. I think it is important that innovation is at the centre of Formula One."

Mercedes' argument against the regulation change is largely based on cost, but Ferrari insists the added expense would be minimal as engine development is an ongoing process. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff went as far as suggesting Ferrari needed a calculator to understand the true added cost of an unfreeze, which appeared to upset Mattiacci.

"It is not fair that Toto offered me a calculator because he was saying we are not good with calculations," Mattiacci added. "I think that it's not - from our point of view - a cost increase. The other argument is that today, if I had the possibility to upgrade my engines and those of the teams I supply, we would have scored points and therefore extra [prize money] revenues.

"For a small team not to have the possibility to catch up is much more dramatic than for a big team. Next year we will have four teams with a Mercedes engine, but for the other teams with another engine maker the situation will be even more difficult."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
ESPN Staff Close