Ferrari and Toyota threaten to quit F1 if Max Mosley forces standard engines

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Ferrari, F1’s oldest team, has threatened to quit over standard engines

First Toyota, now Ferrari is threatening to pull its F1 team if Max Mosley persists with his plan to make all F1 teams use the same engine:

The Ferrari Board of Directors expressed strong concerns regarding plans to standardise engines as it felt that such a move would detract from the entire raison of a sport with which Ferrari has been involved continuously since 1950, a raison d’etre based principally on competition and technological development.

However today brought further indications from the FIA that Mosley is planning to do just that.

Last week the FIA met with FOTA – the teams’ representative group – to discuss future engine regulations. Four days earlier the FIA had put out a tender inviting manufacturers to submit plans for a standard engine that every F1 team would have to use from 2010.

However after the FIA-FOTA meeting no agreement had been made on standardising engines. A joint statement by the two claimed the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems, to be introduced next season, would be standardised in the future.

Today a new statement from the FIA declared:

The FIA has received a number of questions from interested parties regarding that Invitation to Tender. In accordance with the FIA’s Tendering procedures, the replies are set out in the relevant section of the FIA website.

The Tender schedule for transmission-only bids has also been updated. Bids for engines and transmissions in combination and bids for the supply of engines alone must be submitted by 7 November 2008. A minimum of three further weeks will be given to those considering transmission-only bids.

A FOTA source told Autosport the six manufacturers currently involved in F1 (Ferrari, Honda, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes and Renault) have agreed not to submit a tender:

None of the FOTA members will apply. This has been confirmed by all the members.

Earlier today rumours arose suggesting Toyota would pull its F1 team and return to sports car racing (where it competed most recently from 1998-1999) if standardised engines were introduced. Ferrari have now said likewise.

Significantly, it was representatives from these two teams that represented FOTA at the meeting with Mosley – Luca di Montezemolo and John Howett. Presumably the other four manufacturers were similarly strong in their desire not to see standard engines. Honda’s Nick Fry and BMW’s Mario Theissen have said as much recently.

The obvious question is, why is Mosley continuing to push for standard engines in the face of strong opposition from the manufacturers? In doing so, he is risking driving them away from F1 – including Ferrari, the oldest and easily the most famous of F1’s participants.

Two explanations come to mind: either Mosley wants to drive down costs even further, or he wants standardised engines instead of standardised KERS, which he may think will improve F1’s credibility as a developer of environmentally-friendly, road-relevant technologies.

My money’s on the second one. What do you think?

More on the standard engines and cost cutting row

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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49 comments on “Ferrari and Toyota threaten to quit F1 if Max Mosley forces standard engines”

  1. I think he wants the championship to be even more about the driver and less about the car, but I can see why the FOTA are opposed.

  2. Standard engine and transmission would turn formula 1 into every other open wheeler series. Indy, GP2, Formula 3 and so on. Hell I really don’t care how much F1 teams are spending and it’s because of the spending it has turned into the number 1 motorsport in the world.

  3. HounslowBusGarage
    27th October 2008, 21:02

    I think yer right, Keith.
    I *do* think that Max is a pervy old spankaholic but I also think he is quite savvy on the future of motorsport per se.
    I think Max is imagining a world where unfettered burning of fosil fuels is about as acceptable as smoking in church, and is therefore trying to ensure that the sport we all love is going to survive in the face of increasingly strident environmentalists.
    Doesn’t matter if they are right or wrong; if they can point at Formula One as an unreformed, profligate consumer of fuel, they will engineer its banning.
    I think Max is trying to think one step ahead (if that isn’t too mixed a metaphor). Max will want to lay the cornerstone of a resource-responsible version of racing that may or may not utilise the KERS concept, but which will definitely be able to prove to the eco-lobby that it has taken (considerable) steps to limit its environmental impact.
    In a few years time, I would not be surprised to see an ‘energy-equivalence’ type Formula One, where vehicles compete on some kind of maximum energy expenditure per race – however that energy is derived and applied to the track surface.

  4. My money is on the fact that Max has gone completely mad. I have trouble figuring out why hasn’t everybody just simply fired him, or provoke his resignation, something of the sorts.

    I think F1 should spend thrice as much, go twice as fast, have tires twice as fat, and don’t really give a damn about kers and similar nonsensical devices. Just give the engines more juice and let the boys go about it.

  5. Despite the fact that the FIA seem to be biased towards Ferrari, and that i am a Mclaren fan. Ferrari are right on this one, Mosely through these warnings by the two manufacturers should understand that standard engines isn’t the answer.

    Keith, did anyone hear the comment Eccle$£one made on the Standardisation of engines. It just shows how arrogant and out – of – depth he is.

  6. AmericanTifosi
    27th October 2008, 21:46

    Time to start a revolution and overthrow czar Mosley.

  7. As I said in a previous post, if standard engines are brought in they’d have to be Ferrari engines if we want Ferrari to continue to compete.

    Thank God FOTA are standing together on this one, the standard engine would be terrible for F1.

    If they want to be green then just have a maximum fuel load per race, each season this would be reduced to encourage fuel efficiency & alternative technologies.

    The engine is one of the few parts of an F1 car that relates to production cars so by preventing the teams from developing them they are making F1 less of a driving force for production car technology too.

    All I want for Christmas is for FOTA to get their act together and start up a new series, free of the FIA and Bernie.

  8. For me, F1 was at its best when it had fat tyres, open engine regulations with a limited fuel allowance and aero that consisted of front and rear wings only.

    We need to go back to that, cost cutting can be achieved by spending less on aero testing, limit the fuel and limit it more, leave the teams to find their own best engine solution, allow them to introduce any additional source of recovering power… then limit the fuel again. If one team finds the holy grail, great, let them have it for a year, next year they’ll all have it anyway, or something better.

    …oh… and allow customer cars for the private teams, we need a fuller grid, and somewhere to test the young up and coming drivers.

  9. If F1 was truly serious about cost-cutting and leaving a minimal environmental footprint, surely the first thing to happen should be re-re-locating all races to Europe? Crikey, why don’t they just make a PriusF1, plug ’em in at the back of the garage – man with the biggest battery wins! What a load of bs.

    Real cost-cutting in F1 can only happen with a budget cap imo. I know it’d be tricky and maybe still unworkable, but to retain the purity of the sport, why not just say “you have US$150,000,000 each, here’s the new enviro-fuel, build what you like, test when you like, active suspension, slicks, KERS, whatever (except TC). Now, go see what you can do.” Can Max tell me why this is worse than standard engines?

  10. Well, we know that if the teams really want to force Max to comply to their needs, there is perhaps no more powerful weapon than Ferrari talking about leaving the series. While I am a McLaren fan, I also believe that F1 needs Ferrari in order to survive, and this will perhaps wake up Max more than anything.

    With that said, this desire to make engines standard is just a terrible idea, and it is just another example of Max trying to bully around the sport in a manner that no one likes. Hopefully we will not see this come to being, as it would come close to destroying the sport if it actually happens.

  11. Geeez! You kinda saw this coming, Max agrees with the teams, then announces this just to exercise his lust for power. I vote that the FIA and Mosley have gone quite mad.

    Toyota and Ferrari are quite right to protest and threaten with withdrawl. Other teams should join in too. Show Max they’re serious.

    If FOTA stand united – which they have been doing very well since its formation – FIA will retract the standardised engine rule, because the third-party applicants probably won’t be qualified (unless, God forbid, Cosworth applied!)

    Either Max and the other loonies go, or the manufacturers leave F1 and start anew. Either way, just put me out of my misery.

  12. As far as Max Mosley goes, he should have lost his job at the beginning of the year after the sex scandal became public knowledge. As far as the teams, they all had the opportunity to stick the knife in enmasse, and chose not too.
    We have to look at the big picture here, and that is that Mosley goes sometime next year, and is replaced with a more low key and agreeable president. I have always believed that the FIA, no matter who is president, are a major drag to Formula One. This sport deserves men in charge who know their onions, former drivers, team personel, and so on. Max Mosley is a politician, a lackey, no more!!
    If it was not for Formula One, who would care for the FIA? The sport is too big for this nest of vipers to control. In the last two years, we have seen more penalties and scandals than we have ever experienced, and this is a major turnoff. I believe that the teams are right to make their feelings clear, and the bottom line is, that Mosley and those he represents will ‘fold’ without the billions invested by teams like Toyota, Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber, and so on!
    You cannot keep spitting in peoples faces and making them look inept without some sort of comeback. Mosley has lost the plot, control, and more worryingly, his common sense.

  13. I thought this story would make all the Mclaren whingers happy? Or do they realise that without Ferrari F1 is nothing?

  14. Not really because it would mean Mercedes would also leave.

  15. I think Max has gone completely bonkers, either that or this is evidence of someone desperate to hang onto power and create bargining chips to do so.

    Max: “OK, I’ll drop the 1-engine idea and the ridiculous F2 idea so long as you don’t publicly humiliate me by sacking me”.

  16. It’s a trick by Max to overpower Bernie.

  17. Max is a crazy person and he will kill F1 with “standard engines”.
    I think the girls are spanking the wrong part of his body now. Or maybe he thinks with his bootoms now.

  18. I agree with beneboy and Dougie, that the best way to be enviromentally friendly is to limit the teams fuel.

    There are two options:
    1. A standard sized fuel tank and no refuelling during the race, or
    2. Keep in line with the teams choosing their own strategy but only having a set limit on fuel per car.

    This would encourage the teams to be more fuel efficient, plus if they’re carrying less fuel, they’ll go faster!

  19. I think the standardised engine will happen, in terms of parts, design and specification, although each manufacturer will be allowed to build themselves (despite the obvious lack of economy in that approach). I think when all is said and done, the teams will agree.

  20. The Ferrari statement starts by mentioning that their profits are down for the quarter, then goes onto mention the standard engines – since Ferrari exist as a car maker only to fund the building of racing cars. If they lose the reason to create exotic and powerful engines, thats basically the end of the manufacturer, with the loss of jobs too. And they have been struggling before now, even with the help of FIAT and the Italian Government.
    On the other hand, the FIA proposal is for a single manufacturer to design a standard engine, to the FIA requirements, which will be available to all the teams. The other Manufacturers will be able to build their own engines to this same specification, with verification by the FIAs own manufacturer to ensure that power outputs etc are the same. This is all available to see on the FIA website, ITV-F1 etc.
    To me, this sounds like the specifications used by Touring Cars around the world, which limit the engine capacity and power to ensure fairness, so its not such a radical step. Max is trying to ensure the smaller teams have a chance to buy a spec engine at a reasonable price, without using the main Manufacturers. I hope this is how he sees the way to get bigger grids of smaller teams.
    If all the current Manufacturers are objecting to this, it seems strange, since Max isn’t stopping them from building engines, and even complete cars in the future. Some appear to be objecting to not using KERS after all the development, but Max hasn’t ruled out mating KERS to these standardised engines, as far as I can see.
    Lets not all rush into overdrive and forget whats happening in the real world. We want racing, but it has to be ethical, eco-friendly and affordable too. I think we will be seeing a few more surprises in F1 before 2011.

  21. Formula 1 is going to end as a spec series. We already have standard tyres and electronics. In 2009 we’ll get partly standardized aerodynamics and KERS.

    I always opposed standardized components as they make way for a full spec series. Considering the current and coming spec and semi-spec components, are there any real arguments left against a spec series? No, not many.

    Max is proposing a spec powerplant, a spec gearbox, spec suspensions and brakes, etc. It’s only waiting for the proposal of a spec chassis.

  22. I can’t tell if this is Max doing his standard “divide and conquer” technique, or if he truly has gone insane on power since he was reaffirmed in post.

  23. DG, I think the point you’re missing is that the Manufacturers don’t want to build their own engine that has to be exactly the same as everyone elses. That not what Formula 1 is about…

    Those suggesting a fuel limit per race weekend have the best idea. Open up the regs and limit the fuel you can use. The manufacturers won’t spend more than they can afford to, they’re not stupid. And if you have an agreement that forces the manufacturers to supply smaller teams with engines/transmission/chassis that keeps the costs down for those who don’t have the huge budgets.

  24. Weren’t the teams meant to be helping to set the agenda for the future cost-cutting measures in F1?

    It seems that Mosley has gone ahead and decided that standard engines are the way to go, when the major teams/manufacturers are pretty obviously in opposition.

    I’d heard that this is the FIA’s normal way of prompting discussion with the teams (put an extreme proposal on the table, then work backwards from there) but putting out a tender indicates that this is almost definitely going to happen. Shame they haven’t made more details clear really.

    According the FIA website, we’ll know the winner of the tender by the end of November. At least it’ll keep the F1 news sites busy!

  25. Adrian – I can see that side of the argument. But there cannot be that much difference between F1 engines made by different Manufacturers? Could you tell a Renault from a Toyota if it didn’t have any badges?
    Don’t they have to conform to a particular specification already to be classified as F1 engines?

  26. Max has capped high performance engines to rev no more than 19,000 times per minute for a few years now. He justifies standardisation by saying no road car will ever rev this high, that is probably correct. Next year manufacturers can develope their own kers systems tho output levels are capped therefore the team with the best system in 2009 will have a massive advantage untill the standardised kers system is forced upon the teams in 2010.
    I believe the cost cutting excuse is just a smoke screen. Who said F1 needs to make cost cuts in the first place? Yes the smaller teams would benefit but thats the only acceptable reason. I have my own business and if someone told me what to do id be seriously offended. Im so glad not one of the FOTA members have applied for any of the tenders. This hopefully will make Max realise he cant just apply his will on any business or groups, let the teams spend what they want because its their money, let them develope their own engines, kers, anything they choose. Yes there maybe rev limits, kers/turbo output limits etc etc but to me Formula 1 is the most exciting sport in the world and lets keep it that way, this weekend coming has the potential to be so exciting and dramatic, lets hope there are many seasons like this to come…..

  27. I just watched the petit Le Mans 10hr sportscar race from USA. It was fab, great overtaking, accidents galore, very different cars on the track. Cars running on petrol and others on diesel. Now that’s interesting. F1 is dead, killed by too mucj marketing, pathetic old men, too many girls too few real pilots. F1 s moribund.
    Only way out: ban refuelling, change gears with a clutch (and a wire), ban all appendages, including wings front and back. Slick tyres. Free engine size and some freedom on fuel tye, but fixed amount of fuel permitted on board. 1pt for pole, 1 pt for fastest lap, one extra pt if you win and do the hat-trick. BAN carbon fibre discs (steel discs=long breaking like before). Let miniskirts back, therefore filling up space between the wheels, allowing for contact between the cars (Pironi/Villeneuve great duel never would happen today, their cars would break at first contact!).
    in other words, makes sure these boys who drive today understand that if you wanna win YOU MUST OVERTAKE ON TRACK.
    Finally, go back to real tracks, hugging real landscapes, like SPA, which automatically make overtaking easier.
    Dreaming i know, which is why i say F1…*** !!!
    I am watching motogp and le mans. bye bye

  28. My MOney is on that Mosley has been getting some of those spanks on his head, and he’s suffering from a major case of concution.

    F1 without Ferrari? common people, what the hell is he thinking of. F1 will loose practically most of its fan base if the manufacturer teams leave. the germans will always have DTM to lean on, and Ferrari i suspect will put more weight on A1GP and make it a grander series. while competing in GT races with their production car based racers. (which is more market relevant)

    however, i will keep saying, that taking the engine race out of the Formula “1” is in itself ripping the soul out. Formula one should me limitless. and Max Mosley should go on and create a F2108, a series so green that it’s main stay is that its greentech has to be relevant in the year 2108.

    My Solution is go for even smaller engines, and perhaps even more constructors will come on board. turbo charged V6 anyone? or even a four pot… but let the limits be just number of cylinders, displacement, and turbo size, the output should be as maximum as the tech allows.

    leave F1 alone Max, dont go destroying it, the engine freeze alone is an abomination, and for those wimpering about costs, if you cant afford it stay out, simple as that..

  29. I’m sure the 19000 rpm rev limit has already saved billions in what would otherwise have been spent on further engine development. Aero. development from what I read is now the main money “consumer” , so FIA have to put a limit to that side of development – which I understand is already happening in 2009. Would it not save a lot more and make sense to prevent teams developing cars during the racing season ? Williams could even stand a chance of winning a few races again . Isn’t that what the FIA really want to see?

  30. Can someone please tell me why F1 or motorsport in general has to be ethical, eco friendly etc?
    Motoring, as in you and me on the M25, now that has to be smart, ethical and eco friendly.

    We should all drive at 50mph (tops) in our little electric cars, then go to the track or sit in front of the telly and watch wonderful fuel inefficient machines battle it out at 300mph. A few hours every two or three weeks. That’s the way it should be. And yes it would be very eco-friendly.

  31. Give the drivers peddle powered go-kart’s :)

  32. If standardised engines is what it takes to make Ferrari leave F1, then bring on standardised engines.

  33. Formula 1 has, financially speaking, two problems: too high costs and too low revenues. The FIA are only focused on the first problem, but make the first problem even worse. How on earth are teams to increase their revenues if races are dull?

  34. No disrespect to those other motorsport fans who enjoy standardised equipment and the benefit of seeing which driver is best. The reason I prefer F1 is because of the diversity (now that Schumacher has retired – natch). Regrettably, some of this is being hijacked whether through politics or “cost cutting”. If the FIA get their way and make F1 into another standardised racing series, how on earth do they think that the countries queuing up to pay exorbitant sums of money to Bernie Ecclestone will continue to do so when they could get a lower formula or Indycar for a considerable amount less (I’m guessing here I don’t know for sure).

    The other part to this is that we are led to believe that the European viewers are extremely valuable to the continued success of F1. So much so in fact that it was for this reason alone a night race was muted that needed to be run on European time. It has been heavily suggested to Australia that they will need to follow suit (alledgedly) to stand a chance of retaining the rights to their GP. Yet if the European market is so important to court – why oh why are they stripping away races from this area to less accessible ones that require several planes or long lorry journeys to get to these places, creating a bigger impact on costs and carbon footprints than the races alone could produce?

  35. The FIA’s response from Autosport

    Parts of the article I found amusing

    “The FIA has played down the significance of Ferrari’s threat to quit Formula One if a standard engine is introduced – claiming that the onus is on the teams, not the governing body, to come up with better cost-cutting regulations”

    Basically saying we will make totally ridiculous suggestions to force you to come up with something sensible.

    And this one

    “If neither happens. The FIA will take whatever measures prove necessary to preserve a credible world championship for both drivers and constructors.”

    Considering the FIAs actions recently they must have a different take on credible to me.

  36. maybe carbon ‘offsetting’ is the answer to the environmental issue in f1….. each team must plant x amount of trees in the diminishing brazillian rainforest per season – as if this would ever happen but it beats green lines painted in the tyres!
    forget standard engines plant standard trees

  37. If you do actually want to limit fuel consumption, the best way is to have a limit on the max fuel flow rate into the engine, instead of a fixed size fuel tank or similar. This prevents stupid things like having the car run out of fuel on the last lap, and stops the race becoming any sort of “economy run”, while still forcing the engine people to be as efficient as possible.

    The only issue is that it puts a fairly direct power cap on the engines, which might have similar problems to the rev limiter, in that you can slipstream someone and just not have the last small fraction to get by.

  38. Keith asked: “What do you think?”

    I think Max is a blooming idiot! Why can’t he allow the sport to promulgate it’s own racing formula and be content to regulate safety, etc? Because it’s always about Max.

    Get rid of the pin head and let F1 (and all racing for that matter) go their own ways, either into a greener future or on the trash heap of spent fossil fuel residue.

  39. Toyota have denied that they will pull out, they stated they want to win, no matter the costs.

    be it standard engines or not, they want the F1 championship, which isn’t surprising… they’ve conquered all other forms of motorsport.

    trivia, the Toyota Supra touring car from 1996 (or 95) had 666 BHP, and it blitz the opposition…. cool or what?

  40. Cameron aka. SkinBintin
    28th October 2008, 18:15

    Apparantly the oil is going to run out sooner rather than later, so why not make the most of what is left? (semi joking, semi serious)

    Honestly, if Max makes changes to the sport that drive away the likes of Ferrari, BMW, Toyota, McLaren etc then I will follow them. If F1 because too much like A1GP I’ll just start watching A1GP instead. Atleast with that, I can cheer on New Zealand.

  41. F1 is Carbon Neutral, it has been for several years.

    When you also take into account the amount of fuel that has been saved as a direct result of production car engines being improved due to F1 engine development then the sport is far more environmentally friendly than many would have you believe.

    Before aerodynamics started playing such a big part in F1 quite a lot of technological developments led to improvements for road cars: ABS, Active Suspension, Traction Control, Automatic Gearboxes and many more developments have their roots in motor sport.

    Standardisation does away with all of this and makes the sport little more than corporate entertainment, as a kid I just loved watching the drivers racing each other but as I’ve got older the technology side has increased my interest in the sport.

  42. True to form, Max delivers as usual on the arrogance front:

    The FIA has noted the press statement issued by the Ferrari Board of Directors.

    It seems the Ferrari Board were misinformed.

    Having been an avid fan (and by that a mean a real fanatic) for more than 30 years now, I swear that if Mad Max gets his will on this one, I will turn my back on the sport this time. I have considered it on a couple of previous occasions (e.g. when he got rid of the slicks) but have this far hung in there. However, my cup is now full!

    One of my favourite drivers, Jean Alesi, who can always be trusted to speak his mind (as opposed to most of the current generation of drivers), has again delivered too (from an interview in “La Stampa”):

    I have exactly the same thoughts as Ferrari. It’s an absurd idea, because with a standard engine you would not be contesting a real constructors’ championship. With standard engines, Maranello would be right to step out. The global financial crisis is no justification for the proposal. It has nothing to do with it, but is rather a very deep and very complicated political issue, about which I do not want to say any more… It is in effect asking BMW, Toyota or Mercedes to sack their engineers and buy an engine from the supermarket.

  43. @Sush #39.
    According to Autosport ( their statement does not say that they

    want to win, no matter the costs

    To the contrary they state:

    Toyota are committed to succeeding in Formula One for the long-term and our objective in Formula One is to win – we exist to win and we are committed to doing that,” said a team statement.

    However, we believe Formula One must remain a technological challenge; this is an important point for Toyota and provided this does not change we expect to continue in F1 until at least 2012.

    (my emphasis)

  44. I’m sorry if I end up repeating what anyone has said earlier, I’m just mad at this whole idea. I will still read other comments eventually.

    This is a stupid idea. If we want to save costs, lets run the GP2 cars and call it F1. Everything there, apart from paint, is standardized. Why create a more expensive version of the same thing.
    This is not about ecology. Max has contempt for the manufacturers because they are more powerful than he is. He wants to drive them out at all cost, then control the independent teams like puppets.

    Why was ForceIndia not competitive this year, it was because they couldn’t afford to design a car for this year and then be forced to discard everything again for next year. With a stable long term regulation, teams will eventually spend much less than when constant revisions are being made to these regulations on a yearly bases.

    Max knows he wont live for ever so he wants to kill the sport before he leaves.

  45. The FIA have clarified their position , which is : “The FIA has offered the teams three options, one of which is the so-called standard engine, and another that the manufacturers should jointly guarantee to supply power trains to the independent teams for less than €5m per season.” Based on that (although I see two options mentioned not three!) , FIA should then accept tenders from any manufacturers who can supply engines for that amount or less , but let the existing manufacturers have the option of continuing with using their own provided they adhere to the rev. limits imposed by the FIA.

  46. I wont be at all surprised if Bernie is secretly working on a non-FIA GP1 series for the manufacturers to jump ship to when the FIA decides standard engines are happening anyway…

  47. heres a article from 5 years ago when Max started to think about standardising engines……

  48. F1 is Carbon Neutral, it has been for several years.

    so they don’t leave their cars on standby when not in use?

  49. Gyula Bognar
    9th May 2009, 16:21

    This may be just a short time stopgap or diversion in F1, before it falls apart, as we know it. In the next ten years, alternative methods of propelling cars will become widespread and races will reflect, such as electric and hybrid cars racing competitively. Formula 1 with the only internal combustion engines unfortunately will become obsolete politically incorrect and cost prohibitive.

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