Wolff warns against engine war

Toto Wolff

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has warned against the serious financial consequences for Formula One of a "gloves off" engine war.

The sport is again in crisis as Marussia went out of business, Caterham are on the brink of following suit and three other teams in Sauber, Force India and Lotus are fearing for their futures.

But the battle lines are being drawn when it comes to the development of the current power-unit systems which would result in an escalation of costs.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, whose team are powered by Renault, has suggested from 2016 onwards the regulations be opened up with regard to the power unit.

Horner has often cited Renault’s deficiencies this season as reasons why his team have been unable to compete with the dominant Mercedes.

Current rules allow the three power-unit manufacturers — Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari — to work on 92% of the system for 2015, with just 8% frozen.

Within that 92%, the trio can then change almost half of the unit, but Horner believes for next year there should be unlimited changes, and then from 2016 a complete freeze.

Mercedes are not prepared to go down that route and offered a number of compromises far from Horner’s liking. It means from 2016 Mercedes could be out-voted when it comes to a review of the regulations, which in turn would result in potential financial suicide.

There has recently been a suggestion of F1 reverting back to the old V8 engines, but Wolff has warned Mercedes would withdraw if such a scenario occurred.

Meanwhile, Honda will take their first step back onto a Formula One circuit at Silverstone today ahead of their full-time return in 2015. They will get to shakedown their own power unit in a McLaren development car as part of a filming day.

F1 teams are allowed to take part in such events, but are limited on mileage and can only use Pirelli demonstration tyres, rather than current race rubber.


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