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Formula 1 heads Ross Brawn and Jean-François Caubet have strongly put forward their opinions about a second engine delay. As rumours of such a happening circulate the Monte Carlo paddock, the respective representatives of Mercedes-Benz and Renault are sure that the new 1.6-litre, V6 turbo units should come in for 2014.
The entire F1 field is currently powered by 2.4-litre V8 engines, which were introduced for the start of 2006 and waved goodbye to 3-litre V10s. It is already confirmed that the hybrid V6 will enter in 2014, but the introduction has already been delayed once by one year. This followed the initial idea of a straight four-cylinder powerplant, a concept which was suggested by Volkswagen-owned Audi when the German marque was considering an F1 debut; it later decided against joining the sport.
With some suggesting that the V6 debut should be pushed back by a further year to 2015, the subject was brought up in Thursday’s press conference.
“I think it would be a mistake to delay the engines again,” said Brawn, Team Principal of Mercedes. “I think it sends a very bad message if Formula 1 was to keep changing its direction on things that are so fundamental.
“We’ve got to change the engine at some stage; we will become irrelevant with the engine if we don’t. The world’s changing and I think the new engine is a far more relevant engine for Formula 1 for the future. If we’re going to get new manufacturers into Formula 1, which I think is a good thing, then why would they come in to build an antique V8 engine? They won’t.”
Caubet, head of Renault Sport F1 which current provides engines to Red Bull, Lotus, Williams and Caterham, agrees with the Englishman.
“I think we are very clear,” Caubet begins. “We have already delayed the engine once, from four cylinder to go to six cylinders. I think it cost us around 10 to 15 million euros and that was probably the same for Mercedes and Ferrari, so we have blown nearly 50 million euros for nothing. If you keep delaying by one year, it will just never happen because they we would delay from 2015 to 2016 and so on.
“The V8 was developed 25 years ago and I share the same opinion as Ross; if we need to have some new car makers, only a new engine will open the door to them. The last point is a key point: to have Formula 1 in 2014 running with an old engine would only close the door to a lot of new sponsors and technologies. I think we have a clear strategy and it would now be impossible to change our minds.”
Ahead of 2013, the F1 teams will agree terms in the latest version of the Concorde Agreement – the document which binds the constructors with governing body the FIA and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone. Due to a dispute, Mercedes is yet to sign up; the company has so far declined to comment on the specific reasons for this.
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