Schmidt's F1 blog: more losers than winners

Schmidt's F1 blog
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K a press release from the latest Formula 1 strategy summit. That is suspicious. The debate about new engines and new cars had been announced so grandly. If the parties involved cannot agree on a common wording, there is much to suggest that there are more losers than winners.

The discussion about what the engines will look like for 2018 was actually just a pretext. It was much more about who wears their pants in Formula 1. Bernie Ecclestone and FIA President Jean Todt or the manufacturers and their works teams?

Manufacturers keep engines and power

The question was clearly answered after the meeting in Geneva. The factory teams still have the say. They keep their hybrid technology. Just slimmed down a bit. And cheaper for the customer teams. But watch out. The bad end is still waiting. The problems that drove Ecclestone and Todt to their palace revolution late last year are not really off the table. The solution from Geneva is cosmetics at best.

Bernie Ecclestone had to realize that the manufacturers have more leverage. You determined what the engine of the future looks like, not him. They bought Jean Todt with the promise that the engines would be cheaper and available to everyone. Todt can say: That's exactly what I wanted.

Really? As before, only automotive companies can build such drive sources. As before, no Ilmor or Cosworth will be able to enter the market as independent providers. The technology is still so complicated that the driver has to be remotely controlled and the team needs full technical support from the manufacturer.

There will still be major differences between the engines. Neither ingenious aerodynamics nor an exceptional driver will be able to compensate for this. As before, the rules remain so confused that more and more fans will switch off. There will continue to be relocations from the starting position and radio messages that nobody wants to hear.

Red Bull continues without top engine

Red Bull lost too. There is neither a cheap engine nor the car Red Bull wanted for the future. The Red Bull concept has now been so watered down that you can hardly recognize it.

Red Bull cannot be reassured that no one will be without an engine in the future. The rules are supposed to forbid that. But Mercedes and Ferrari will protect themselves against unloved customers. They will fill their contingent with teams that cannot be dangerous to them. ThenRed Bull has to use Renault or Honda. Or hope that VW, BMW or Toyota will join, which you could trust to get to the level of the best in their class. Or stop.

What happens to Red Bull could hit anyone else who gets too strong for the top teams. If necessary, Mercedes or Ferrari decide to build a customer engine for unpleasant partner teams under a different name. This ensures that they follow behind.

Pecking order stuck until 2020

Motorsport is also a loser. Bet that by the end of the season we will have the same discussions as in autumn 2015? Because of the high costs, the pressure on the losers among the factory teams is so great that new rules are being called out. Or the punishment of the good guys.

There is so much potential in this drive technology that Mercedes and Ferrari could benefit from their lead for years to come. That would mean a deadlocked pecking order until 2020. Can Formula 1 survive that long?

There was a chance, on the basis of the 1.6 liter V6 turbo, to create something that would reduce costs without too radical intervention would have been reduced, equal opportunities improved, the driver more in the foreground and a fairer balance between car and engine. It was missed.

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