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According to FIA president Jean Todt, regardless of the ridiculous grid penalties for using more than four engines in 2017, the sport will trudge ahead with reducing that number to three in 2018. One can, like red Bull’s Christian Horner, assume there will be even more grid penalties coming. Jean said:

“It is something that was decided,” explained Todt. “Some people are still thinking, why don’t we have one engine for the whole championship?

“It is not something that is new. It was decided years ago for 2018.

“We had some meetings with teams and the way the regulations are made and the governance are made, to decide now to go back to four engines, or let’s go back, we need to be in 100% agreement.

“And we don’t get 100% agreement, so we are down to three engines.”

The regulation was agreed upon as a way to cut costs but to be fair, it’ now being seen by manufacturers as a tactical advantage given Renault and Honda’s failure rate versus Mercedes and Ferrari. In short, the lack of reliability is a a sort of natural selection that removes two of the manufacturer’s competitors leaving only Mercedes and Ferrari to battle for the title and all the money.

Jean Todt says that it has more to do with helping other, smaller competitors.

“I don’t feel it is easy to find the right solution,” he said. “If you don’t do anything – it will be more expensive to buy the engines.

“For the FIA to decide that you don’t have limited amount of engines, it won’t be a problem, but it would be a problem for the competitors.”

I understand his point but I would argue that doubling the smaller team’s engine supply costs hasn’t exactly been a great result of the new engine period.

Fans hate the grid penalties. Most of the teams hate the grid penalties and the impact it has on the sport is very negative and turns fans off. Since this is the case and only manufacturers care about engine limits, why don’t we remove constructor’s points for engine changes instead of grid penalties? Why punish the driver for something beyond their control?

The Constructor’s championship is the only one worth measuring for money these days so if you really want to make a statement about costs and reliability, then hit the teams where it really matters. They don’t care about grid penalties as much as losing big constructor points because that actually means serious money. Just a thought.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.

  • subcritical71

    Surprise, surprise, the teams could not come to an agreement once again. 100% is ridiculous as well as any veto rights.

    Let’s institute a claim rule and see how fast they would sort this out.

    • This was always Mr. E’s assertion…you can’t leave it to the teams because they will never agree on anything between them. We saw that when FOTA was trying to address simple things initially but as soon as it got into money related issues, it folded.

  • p1ngu

    Mercedes have got the engine side sorted, as have Ferrari (more or less). The others have the choice of developing their engines in the same way as the Big Two or running them in lower power settings so they can last the season.

    Mercedes and Ferrari have invested hundreds of millions, and just because the others either haven’t had the budget (Renault) or have wandered off down blind alleys (Honda) I don’t see why they should be essentially given a free pass.

    One of the reasons you link the team and driver pints is because it rewards a clever driver in their team choice (Hamilton, Vettel) and it penalises those such as Alonso who’s somehow managed to make the wrong choice pretty much with every move. It ensures that drivers don’t just go for a massive pay packet at the expense of performance, or if they do they have to stick with the sonsequences of their decisions.

    I dare say that Alonso would have scored a lot more points this year if he’d been able to start every race with a fresh engine and no penalty, but then Lewis and Seb would have done the same…….and ultimately it’d not have changed much overall apart from making the engine costs orders of magnitude higher for all teams that could afford to pay and sentencing cash-strapped teams such as Sauber or Haas to never score a single point for either driver or manufacturer.

    • subcritical71

      I guess I see it that two teams a series does not make. It is only in the benefit of Ferrari and Mercedes that they are the only ones at the sharp end of the grid.

      As Charlie White mentioned in another thread, maybe Liberty have already considered a series without the top teams. I don’t think this is good for F1 as a whole but it may be the short term action that is needed to get the sport under control with the owners steering the car. At the end of the day this is a business and I know if I owned it I would demand to be the one in control of the direction it takes.

      • Salvu Borg

        If I am not mistaken it was you that said/mentioned on here “maybe Liberty have already considered a series without the top teams”.

        • subcritical71

          Hmmm, I don’t think that was me. I mentioned it only above giving credit where it was due. If I did so previously I don’t remember…

  • Dave Domenicano

    Stupid dumb-ass frenchie… the last stretch of the 2018 season will be plagued with engine penalties and just might screw us to a good championship fight!

    • jakobusvdl

      Dave and Todd,
      Lets go back to the quotes from Todt.
      “It is something that was decided,” explained Todt. “It is not something that is new. It was decided years ago for 2018. We had some meetings with teams and the way the regulations are made and the governance are made, to decide now to go back to four engines, we need to be in 100% agreement. And we don’t get 100% agreement, so we are down to three engines.”
      And some how, this is the FIA stuffing the sport and the fans?

      It looks like it is the Teams that don’t care about the fans, not the FIA.
      Rather generously, Todt doesn’t say specifically which team(s) didn’t support a change, but I think whoever they are, they should be the real focus for any outrage.

  • Salvu Borg

    After 9 years the 2008 power struggle fight by today’s commercial rights owners is repeating itself, but this time with some differences. Back then the fight on behalf of the commercial rights owners was being pushed by the back then commercial rights owner once ex tax advisor and buddy who was leading the FIA. While prominent on the team’s leading front was Ross Brawn. Back then it was the same opening shots being fired, engines and budget cap. Back then the formula 1 teams association (FOTA) was set up to provide a single voice for the teams in dealings with MR E and his buddy over proposed changes to the forced rules and regulations for 2010 F1 season, it got to the point when FOTA announced their intention to form their own rival breakaway series, at which point the dispute was eased to the point at which the concord agreement was signed in 2009, and everybody and his dog knows the results, no such engine materialized, no such budged cap materialized, not only that, but the teams that mattered/of substance got a much better deal and a hell lot more money. And that is why FOTA folded, there was no more need of it any more.

    • subcritical71

      The more I think about it, the more I think its important to know the history but at the same time we have an entirely different cast of characters this time around. And where the characters are the same they now have entirely different perspectives (due to different positions).

      • Salvu Borg

        “Maybe Liberty already considered a series without the top teams”. Who in his right mind will go invest in F1 considering doing away without the top teams?.

        • subcritical71

          Your statement assumes that current sponsors of non-top teams are only investing in F1 because of the top teams. I don’t agree with that. There will always be opportunities for companies looking to invest in F1. I see more and more American companies getting in while long standing European sponsors are leaving. The current sponsors of the non-top teams would probably stay and have elevated returns because of it.

          But lets hope it doesn’t come to that.

          • jakobusvdl

            If the fans were to lose interest because the top teams left, the sponsors would be gone in a flash. So a rapid spiral to the end of the series.

          • Salvu Borg

            My statement is the second part. The first part is your statement, quoted word for word.

          • subcritical71

            My response was to your question, not my statement.

  • Sakae

    “…why don’t we remove constructor’s points for engine changes instead of grid penalties? Why punish the driver for something beyond their control?”

    Exactly. It seems so obvious and logical, and many of us on the outside said the same many time over. One stand flabbergasted why this solution hasn’t found fertile ground on the inside. The only reason I can think off – speculating, of course – is tendency to artificially mix grid and sent respective drivers to fight for their race position. Problem is, overtaking should be resolved on a different path, and not by random lottery reliability, or lack of thereof, represents. Some drivers received more than others of such handicapping, by their own team, mind you, and that’s hardly fair.

    • jakobusvdl

      On the same quote and concept, if the drivers should be insulated from any from failures of the car, power unit or team, why shouldn’t the teams be insulated from the failures of the driver?
      The driver crashes, has a poor start, just plain underperforms that weekend, the team should get the points they would have scored if the driver had a perfect race?

      • Sakae

        You have a point, but if a driver is out of control, a team has internal devices how to handle it. MB told (allegedly) Hamilton and Rosberg, stop, or you will be replaced. I have no intention to elaborate what a team could do to defend their interest, but I am raising awareness, that a team has many ways how to remedy situations you describe. Fact is, we have WDC and WCC going on, and one has to ensure that both titles do not become wash-out, meaningless statement how a driver or a team performed during a season past. Driver is already in a bad situation when he gets into DNF or DNS. Grid starting position shuffle seems like double whammy.

        • jakobusvdl

          I just don’t buy in to the idea that in F1 you can separate the driver and team performance. The driver is just one of up to 800 team members, in my eyes the succeed or fail together.
          If people want a pure drivers series, they are asking for a standard specification series, and that can never be the pinnacle of motorsports.

          • Sakae

            There is one of two potential issues with your response. Either you haven’t taken time to understand the point I was making, or I have failed to make my point as clear as I should have.

            There is basically a thin line when team’s effort and its failures are IMO disproportionally skewed at the moment against driver. Whether you agree or not is up to you, but I think penalty system is flawed and ought to be overhauled (but not as Brawn is proposing; what a mess – again).

          • jakobusvdl

            I don’t think I’ve missed your point(s), or you have haven’t made them clearly. Its just I really don’t think the WDC can be separated from the WCC.
            We don’t penalise drivers because the luck into an inherently superior car (Bottas finished 3rd in the WDC, is he a superior driver to Perez or Ocon? Probably not).
            The grid penalties have been around since 2008, they haven’t been a controversial issue until 2014, because the cars have been more reliable.

          • Salvu Borg

            Its insane to think penalizing a manufacturer and or team and not the driver for mechanical failure can work.
            Drivers are part of the team, so the penalty goes for the team.
            The driver can cause many reasons for mechanical failures so it would be impossible to get right.
            Some went as far as to say that some teams doesn’t make their own power unit, so it is not even fair for such teams to be penalized. Those that reasons like this should remember that teams chase their engine suppliers, if they fall-out with FERRARI and Mercedes and have a Renault, that’s down to them.

  • Boycottthebull

    So even though it was decided years ago before realising that such a crushing penalty system was ruining the racing the FIA cant adapt step up and fix the problem? And “Mr I Cant Do Anything” gets re-elected unopposed? The sport really is in trouble.

    • jakobusvdl

      You’re pissed at Todt and the FIA, why not at the teams who wouldn’t agree to a change ‘for the good of the sport’?
      From the quotes it looks as if FIA tried to negotiate a change, but some team(s) said no. That doesn’t sound like the FIA are the problem.

  • Dancing_Horse

    The only real positive in this engine debacle is the fact the we as street vehicle owners/buyers, have had the benefits of owning cars in the last few years which have resulted in many years of of enjoyment due to much less breakdowns and longer longevity of the vehicle(s).
    Although vehicles cost are on the continued rise, the prize at the end of the payout is the peace of mind of confidence of ownership longer that longer than years prior to F1’s groundwork in this and many more which eventually trickle down to us, the consumer. For this we can thank F1 for their generosity of millions upon millions of dollars in testing for reliability for their F1 engines, etc. etc….
    Other than that I see no reason for what its done to the smaller constructors possibilities of gaining any headway prior to bankruptcy!
    So mine is a love hate relationship with this idea – they lose up front – we gain on the back end…..

  • Shocks&Awe

    “Why punish the driver for something beyond their control?” I don’t buy that argument.

    The counter-argument is, “why benefit the driver for something beyond their control”. If the drivers benefit from the team’s great aero/performance/reliability, then why shouldn’t they suffer for the team’s lack of such?

    Not that I’m in favor of the 3-engine rule, but in reality it makes little difference. It’s only real effect is to shake up the grid here and there. If every team had 10 engines, the big teams would still benefit more than the small teams.

    Basically they created a rule that accomplished nothing for which it was intended and instead is more akin to Bernie’s random sprinklers than anything else.