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Engine change 'right for the sport' - Horner

ESPN Staff
December 3, 2014 « Vettel bids farewell to Red Bull | Red Bull proposal governed by self-interest - Mercedes »
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Red Bull boss Christian Horner says F1 cannot afford to keep its current engines in 2016 and thinks it risks losing more than one manufacturer if it does not agree to a change.

Red Bull and Mercedes are currently at loggerheads over the engine freeze, which limits engine development to a window before the season as the debate surrounding the new power units rumbles on. Renault [which powers Red Bull], Ferrari and Honda, who will enter the sport next year with McLaren, want another opportunity to work on engines during the season to cut the gap to Mercedes but the world champions baulked at the extra cost of lifting the freeze, meaning the unanimous agreement needed to change regulations for 2015 could not be found.

However, the regulations for 2016 are not set until next year and Horner has suggested a return to the old V8s or a more simplified turbo engine to simplify costs, something Mercedes has said would force them to consider quitting the sport.

When reminded of Mercedes' threat, Horner replied: "Well the problem is, what do you do? If you leave it as it is you're probably going to drive Renault and possibly one or two others away. You've got to do what's right for the sport rather than what's right for an individual manufacturer."

With no unanimous agreement for next year Horner says he is resigned to the possibility of another uncompetitive season behind Mercedes, before its rivals force the issue for 2016 as unanimous agreement will not be needed.

"I think that's basically where we're at; nothing is going to change for next year. But we can't afford to not get 2016 right."

Horner says simplifying the current engines would satisfy manufacturers who are unhappy with spiralling costs of the V6 turbos.

"The development costs for the manufacturers - they are moaning like hell. The supply price is double what it was in previous years. I think we need to embrace what's good about these engines and try and address what's extremely expensive about the engines. Whether it's a single-turbo or a twin-turbo … or maybe go to a standard turbo or standard energy recovery system and simplify the engines. If we can reduce that burden of cost on the manufacturer then it's only going to pass down into the teams and that's obviously been a large contributing factor to Marrusia's problems and Caterham's.

"Of course it's not going to be popular with everybody but basically we have a choice; we can either say 'open everything up for 2016 and spend what you like, go for open development', which I don't think any of the manufacturers have an appetite for and you'll probably lose one or two if you go that route; or you say let's grab a hold of costs and do something that still allows competition but is still far more contained and responsible in what it is providing to the customer as well. To me it seems a far more logical way to go."

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