Should engine performance in F1 be equalised?

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Mercedes’ emphatic success in the first race of the season has prompted calls for their performance to be reined in.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was especially vocal on that point after seeing Daniel Ricciardo finish a lapped sixth in his home race.

In Horner’s view, the FIA tried to constrain Red Bull’s supremacy between 2010 and 2013 via outlawing their innovations using a series of technical directives and rules changes. He now wishes to see the same happen to Mercedes.

Bernie Ecclestone made his sympathy towards Red Bull’s point of view clear and even gave an interview to Italian media in which he suggested Mercedes had gained an unfair advantage when the current regulations were devised.

However his insinuations about Mercedes ‘knowing a bit more about the power unit because they were in close contact with the FIA’ could be interpreted as Mercedes having done their homework better than their rivals. Mercedes described the implication they had accessed to privileged information as untrue and stated on Twitter “we all had same rules at same time”.

Ecclestone also claimed there is a dispensation in the regulations which allows the FIA to level the playing field between different power units. The rules require teams to homologate their current engines before the season begins, but there is a clause which allows for power unit changes after that deadline:

A power unit delivered to the FIA after 28 February 2014*, or modified and re-delivered to the FIA after that date, which the FIA is satisfied, in its absolute discretion and after full consultation with all other suppliers of power units for the Championship, could fairly and equitably be allowed to compete with other homologated power units.
2015 FIA F1 Sporting Regulations, Appendix four

*A deadline of 28 February 2015 was permitted for this year’s championship.

However the next line of the rules will dampen the hopes of those who wish to see the FIA use it to cut Mercedes’ advantage:

Such changes will normally only be accepted if they are being proposed for reliability, safety or cost-saving reasons.
2015 FIA F1 Sporting Regulations, Appendix four

But whether or not the existing rules can be used to close up the field, the more pressing questions is whether they should.


Four consecutive years of Red Bull championship success from 2010 and 2013 will no doubt leave many with the view that it’s a bit rich for Red Bull to be complaining about how one-sided the competition is at the moment. But Horner is right when he points out that Mercedes are further ahead at present than Red Bull were at any point during their championship campaigns: it was true at the end of last year and they were even further ahead last Sunday.

Formula One can ill afford another one-sided championship at a time when its viewing figures are suffering.


Horner’s frustration is understandable as Australia was an embarrassingly poor start to the season for his team. However that does not mean Mercedes’ deserve to have their hard-won advantage taken away from them.

Contrary to the rhetoric from Red Bull and Ferrari last year, there is sufficient scope within the regulations for rival manufacturers to close the performance gap. It was clear from the first race Ferrari has made progress with its power unit over the winter, and it’s up to Renault to do the same.

I say

If Horner was making the case that the current engine regulations are not right for F1 and should be replaced with something more suitable, I might appreciate his point of view. And even if he were to claim that the rules governing aerodynamics – always a Red Bull strength – are too tight and should be relaxed, that would also seem reasonable. Perhaps that is where he is going with this gambit – taking an unreasonable position in order to later retreat to a more sensible one.

But the notion that Mercedes deserve to be compromised merely because they are playing the game well is worse than just wrong, it’s injurious to Formula One’s reputation as a competition. Far from indulging Horner, the FIA should remind him of article 151 of the International Sporting Code, and what happened to the last team which was judged to have brought F1 into disrepute.

Red Bull’s threat to go home and take their ball with them because they aren’t winning any more is adolescent behaviour. But if Mercedes were reined in, and the millions they have spent on building a better engine erased in a single stroke, it would be hard not to agree with them if they decided to not waste any more money on a rigged competition.

You say

Should power unit performance in F1 be equalised? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should F1's governing body equalise power unit performance to help Renault and others catch up to Mercedes?

  • No opinion (1%)
  • Strongly disagree (69%)
  • Slightly disagree (12%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (2%)
  • Slightly agree (12%)
  • Strongly agree (4%)

Total Voters: 704

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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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256 comments on “Should engine performance in F1 be equalised?”

  1. No. All the manufacturers have designed their engines according to the same set of regulations. One supplier has done a much better job than the others. That is something they should reap the rewards for. There are lots of other series out there that keep the cars’ performance roughly equal. Red Bull should try one of those if F1 isn’t for them.

    Horner’s suggestion that Red Bull were repeatedly reined back during their years of success is comparing apples with oranges. Red Bull were testing the aerodynamic regulations to their limits and exploiting “grey areas” in the rules that were subsequently tightened up on. Conversely, no one has suggested that Mercedes’ advantage is anything other than completely above board.

    1. they should equalise on COST ground, just like they banned Red Bulls inovations year after year

      1. Red Bulls inovations

        Innovation is not the appropriate word when you’re constantly breaching the regulations, flexi wings, engine mapping…

        1. Michael Brown
          22nd March 2015, 14:31

          If by “breaching regulations” you mean finding loopholes, then yes.

          1. Loopholes are just areas intended to be covered but are not. When found they are fixed. It is breaching the intention of the rules but not the rules themselves. It is like tax planning, not illegal but no less morally wrong.
            They could ask for clarification and sometimes they did.

            Back to this year. Not much to do with current regulation. Many motor sports have a handicap system. Adding weight to winning cars and so on.
            Maybe F1 could hand out PU tokens to let stragglers catch up.

          2. @celebmir I think that extra tokens are a good idea, but we’d have to be careful not to overdo it. Maybe after each race the worst PU supplier could get an extra development token.

          3. Loopholes are just areas intended to be covered but are not. When found they are fixed. It is breaching the intention of the rules but not the rules themselves.

            The intention of the rules does not matter. The letter of them does. It is the job of the cleverest minds in F1 to design the fastest possible car given the rules as written. Finding “loopholes” is a consequence of that, as is the FIA closing those “loopholes” the next year if they are breaching the “intent” of the rule.

            It is worth noting that Mercedes haven’t even done that. They have complied with both the letter and the “spirit” of the rules. They just did a much better job.

            Personally, I think it’s up to the others to catch up. Purposely handicapping Merc for doing a good job does not sit well with me. However, of all the suggested methods, giving a few extra “tokens” to anyone whose engine is behind by a significant margin is the best so far. They would have to be careful, however, that they did not allow them to artificially leap-frog the leaders.

            Personally, I would say the massive leap forward made by Ferrari shows that the performance will equalise itself in a few years, and we should let it run it’s course.

        2. Exaust blown diffusor, “flexible wing” regulation have only been altered after they gave RedBull an advantage over other teams, because RedBull mastered it better than others.

      2. But RedBull’s innovations cost a fortune! No more innovations for them then.

    2. – All the manufacturers have designed their engines according to the same set of regulations.

      The word is regulations.
      Yes, formula one, like any other sport, is governned by rules and regulations but what makes formula one unique is that these regulations are overhauled periodically, not just to shake up the order of teams but also to ensure that the sport fufils its motive of being at the forefront of automotive technology.

      Frankly, until the last draft of rules which gave rise to the current engine rules, F1 had stagnated with their V10 and V8 engines. So, these new engines are a breath of fresh air.

      The problem, however, with the regulations in f1 is that it tends to be overdone. People say f1 is too regulated.

      The plight of the sport today is as a result of regulations requested for and signed up to, in part, by the teams who are now asking for them to be overhauled, but you need rules to clip Mercedes’ wings.

      As much as I am against so many rules and regulations, I do believe that it was neither entertaining to watch M.S win 5 consecutive championships nor was it thrilling to watch Vettel zoom right off into the distance race after race only to decide for himself whether to make the gap between him and next driver 30secs or less and if he should top the weekend off with a fastest lap or not. So, as much as I would love a Mercedes domination, which they absolutely deserve, other teams need to catch up for the same reason alluded to by Keith Collantine. The sport needs her spectators.

      But in order for the teams to catch up, they need more rules or regulations, which ironically prompted Mercedes to remind them last year that introducing new rules for further engine development, against what they had signed up to initially, will ensure that Mercedes extracts more power from their unit. And they duly did that hence we are where we are today, asking for more rules. Due to the tantrums of last year resulting in hasty reaction from the sport’s governing body, Mercedes are even faster this year than they were in 2014.

      Either they say, no more development for Mercedes while everyone developes their engines and chasis or they keep the statusquo and let everyone work and catch up with mercedes.

      They unfortunately cannot just rig the rules to disadvantage mercedes cos they too can rightfully quit the sport.

      F1’s too many rules have finally come full circle to bite them. Talk about being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

      1. What if Renault had the most powerful unit and Red Bull had a 1sec advantage. I bet opinions would reverse…

        1. @antznz Not if it was conclusively proven that the 1-second gap was due to Renault having done a very good job on their engine…

        2. @antznz: “What if Renault had the most powerful unit and Red Bull had a 1sec advantage. I bet opinions would reverse…” Why? What are you inferring?

          1. Stuart Becktell (@)
            23rd March 2015, 14:22

            Probably that people are tired of Red Bull winning, just like in a few years they will be tired of Mercedes winning. The fact that RBR was never found in breech of any regulations by the stewards from 2010-2013, yet there are many who constantly state they were cheating is pretty silly.

          2. I would expect that if Red Bull were dominating still there would be much more demand to change regulations. Red Bull pushed technology (and rules) which is what F1 is about! It seems that it is much more acceptable for manufacturers and pedigree racing teams to dominate however there seems to be a big issue with a ‘fizzy drink company’ doing F1 better than Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes etc.. I think there is an underlying prejudice against Red Bull because of the success they have achieved given their background. We seem to be able to stomach Ferrari, McLaren or Mercedes dominance much better than Red Bull…

    3. Sorry to hijack the comment, but I think I’m going mad – I’ve seen that top photo a few times now, but I can’t for the life of me remember a point where Kimi got that close to Seb in the race, unless those first five got away from the grid unbelievably cleanly? My brain is insisting that this photp doesn’t make sense!

      1. I think it’s the formation lap.

      2. Seb didn’t get off the formation grid very well and was overtaken by a couple of cars. Kimi let him through at the first corner and Seb gave him a little wave on the way through.

    4. Bradley Cornish
      22nd March 2015, 22:11

      The thing is though, how do we know Mercedes haven’t been exploiting loopholes in the same fashion as Red Bull. When Red Bull designed their cars they were technically legal, and passed all scrutineering. It wasn’t until other teams saw these aero parts and complained, that the FIA stepped in with a re-clarification of the rules. Now with the case of the Mercedes PU, there might be questionable design elements. Parts that are legal but designed outside the implication of the rules, only legal by technical loopholes. But because it’s a power unit, that other teams have no access to and can not analyse, they have no way of knowing.

      I can see the argument that it was never fair for the FIA to re-clarify the rules in an attempt to rein in Red Bull. If a design is legal (whether it goes against the point of a particular regulation or not) it is legal; and therefore should be left untouched till the end of the season.

      1. then why is Mercedes so far ahead of Williams, Force India, and Lotus if the engine is the only reason they’re so far ahead?

        1. Mercedes have much more information about the engine, their software will be much better leading to better drive-ability, economy etc.. They can therefore get much more out of the engine than other cars will be able to. They do admittedly have a much better chassis than all their customers which does accentuate the gap. All the customer teams have the same engine as Mercedes. This does not mean they can get the same performance out of them however.

      2. But because it’s a power unit, that other teams have no access to and can not analyse, they have no way of knowing.

        What have the ‘other teams’ got to do with it? Unlike the aero packages the teams run, the engine PU schematics and a reference sample are supplied to the FIA as part of the homologation process – if they think a unit is illegal, they have all the technical documentation to prove it.

        Conversely, Red Bull were caught hiding leaf springs inside rubber shielding in their front wing assemblies at Abu Dhabi last year…

      3. because it’s a power unit, that other teams have no access to and can not analyse, they have no way of knowing.

        They may not be able to tell from external inspection but photographs get leaked and staff members move from team to team – Ferrari have hired Jock Clear from Mercedes, for instance.

    5. I do agree with Red Andy, the team that comes out with the best car, doesn´t matter if has to do with the engine, chassis, whatever, of course should get the rewards. The others must try to do better, this is the only way things can improve in life and sports.

      1. Jus looking at the situation from a slightly different perspective. If Mercedes advantage was cut, how rewarding would it be for any to be race winners knowing they are only in that situation because Mercedes are running on 3/4 of there full potential?

    6. This “poll” is a scientific proof of the fact that if you ask a leading question, you get the desired answer.

      The question “Should F1’s governing body equalise power unit performance to help Renault and others catch up to Mercedes?” would, on a site that wasn’t trying to direct its readers opinions, have been phrased very differently. I’d suggest the following:

      “Should F1’s governing body equalise power unit performance?”

      The entire second half of the question was written solely to get the desired answer. If you’d asked an equally leading question from the other side of the coin, I’d wager that you’d have gotten the exact opposite answer. Consider this:

      “Should manufacturers be allowed to develop their engines as much as they like, or should homologation, engine lifecycle controls and testing bans be retained so that Mercedes can keep its huge performance lead?”

      No less pathetic a question than the one this site asked.

      1. @gweilo8888 I don’t agree the question is leading, My intention in phrasing it was to reflect what Red Bull are asking for as accurately as possible. It is the case that equalising engine performance would help Renault, but it would surely help others as well. It’s a matter of relevance to the subject, not trying to engineer a particular response.

        No less pathetic a question than the one this site asked.

        Whether I agree with you or not the best way to guarantee your point of view will be dismissed is to phrase it as an attack instead of constructive criticism.

        1. I have no doubt whatsoever about your journalistic integrity @keithcollantine but technically the poll is subject to a phenomenon called ‘affirmation bias’ or ‘confirmation bias’, in which people are slightly predisposed to Agree rather than Disagree to any given proposition. Also technically one would agree/disagree with a statement rather than a question, and there is the risk of an error rate about interpreting the proposition.

          It would be preferable to have responses that are the statement respondents want to make, for example:

          What should the FIA do about the PU’s?

          1. Equalise them completely
          2. Freeze Mercedes while the others develop
          3. Turn a blind eye
          4. Leave the rules as they are

          Or whatever you think the alternative opinions are. You could have the long version of the responses in the text and a short version on the scale.

          1. kenneth chapman
            23rd March 2015, 22:52

            i happen to agree and in my response i put forward a similar point. the question was wrong. maybe it should’ve been something like,…’should the development restrictions on all teams be lifted to allow further free development of the PU across all teams’? i think that you would get a completely different set of voting patterns.

          2. I’ve got an alternative option. Been shouting it for years, but no-one ever listens!

            Rotate the drivers through all the teams each season. Design the entire season around this rotation so that the drivers are employed not by any teams but by Formula 1 itself. They recieve equal pay, no driver may buy his way in and only the creme de la creme are allowed in.

            Teams have to design their car to take into account the rotating driver lineup. Drivers bring seats and steering wheels, brake pads etc, which are all designed to be plug and play. Of course drivers will need extra time in the cars before each weekend, so give them unlimited testing.

            The season is designed with an exact number of races so each team entertains each driver twice – maybe three times, but a strong effort is made to ensure that each driver has a fair shot, and each team has a fair shot at their respective titles buy ensuring that one team doesn’t get Alonso more than any other for example, or one driver isn’t in a Merc, or whatever the team du jour happens to be more times than any other.

            Next race’s teams are randomly selected live after the previous race.

            Any thoughts?

        2. Whether you agree or not is of little import; the question is absolutely and undeniably leading as written, because it doesn’t just ask the question whether or not engine performance should be equalized, but it also includes the author’s interpretation of the outcome of that equalization.

          If you want unbiased poll results in future, I suggest that you research loaded questions, leading questions and suggestive questions, then avoid using any of them in a poll. (And not just in the question itself, but also in the lead-in to the question.)

    7. The last time there was an engine freeze (V8’s), it was precluded by years of open development. I’m not sure I agree with this phased lock-down approach the FIA are taking (with unclear homologation rules to boot). It seems to lock in some engines to being behind hand cementing Merc’s advantage.

  2. Paul Findsen (@)
    22nd March 2015, 11:54

    The team with the fastest car wins. That’s the sport.

    1. @zapski And that’s really all that can be said. The fastest win so bravo Mercedes.

    2. @zapski Exactly, why is chassis design a more legitimate way of differentiating performance than engine design?

      1. F1 is back to what it should be, more road car relevant with the development of the new power units. However the big issue is the restrictions on development, making a competition that is not the spirit of F1. The only limiting factor on aero development for the teams was money, now we are faced with teams who are happy to spend the money to give us better competition but are restricted by the rules.
        @celebmir has the best idea I have seen so far, give more PU tokens to the manufacturers who have a performance deficit to help them. It will still mean it takes them time and Mercedes will still have an advantage. We want to see many teams with even a slight chance of winning a single race, not an almost guaranteed 1-2 for a single team.

        1. I think that one way the FIA could level the playing field in an engine formula might be to control the token spend themselves, it should not be an equal token system, and maybe handed out like constructors points are, but in reverse order. Tokens could be handed out based on your finishing position in the constructor’s championship from the previous year but in Engine Manufacturer order. For example: If Mercedes engines come 1st in 2014 they should get the least amount of tokens available for engine development in 2015, the 2nd Engine Manufacturer should get a few more tokens, the 3rd Engine Manufacturer a few more, and so on. The Engine Manufacturer that comes last in the standings should get the maximum allowable tokens. This will allow the engine manufacturers lagging behind to catch up closer to the front runners without really handicapping the top engine manufacturers, as their engines should be closer to that design ceiling anyway, and they can use their fewer tokens more wisely, as the gains when you are sitting on the top step of the podium in a frozen engine formula will eventually diminish. Just a thought maybe!!!

  3. There was no “Hell no” option available so I had to settle with strongly disagree.

    1. +1 (00)

      This isn’t just about the drivers, it’s about the job the whole team do. It’d be like a stop and go penalty in GP2 for being in the lead.

    2. +1 People need to remember that an F1 race doesn’t start at the green flag. It starts a year or more before that with building a team and designing and building a car

  4. If I want the engines to be ‘unfrozen’, what should I vote?

    1. exactly – there is no true competition anymore – manipulated by the governing bodies and run by lawyers not engineers anymore. I do agree somewhat with Horner – where are the rule changes against Merc like elimination of blown diffuser, etc attacked RB? RB had aero dominance and the FIA /F1 attacked that advantage…what have they attacked on Merc?

      1. I don’t think RBR was ‘attacked’ as you put it, after only one Championship and one race of the next season, were they? Horner of all people should know that given too much domination the rules do get changed eventually to change things up and make sure the audience isn’t getting bored. It happened to RBR after all, so it will happen to Mercedes too.

        So let’s say the decision makers have already decided and agreed with Horner that Merc already needs reining in, way sooner than RBR was. a)How would that encourage Merc or any team to aspire to be the best, or even to bother spending the money and staying in F1? b) How would beating Merc on the strength of them having their wings clipped so soon, equate to prideful accomplishment?

        The rules will naturally get changed as they were with RBR leading, but that was over 4 years. It is only fair to the other teams to make changes incrementally so they can adapt and not all be too harmed with too big a change too quickly. The audience deserves the same for their particular team.

        So go ahead RBR…keep lobbying and get your way. But the quicker and deeper the changes made to curb Merc, the more it will look like you are only succeeding because….

        To have decided after only one race that there is no hope seems unfair and unprofessional to me, especially when many don’t mind Merc’s domination especially when they have two very close drivers and stand to put on a much better show than we saw with SV/MW.

        And where should the line be drawn Mr. Horner? Under the guise of ‘equalization’ would you actually not be happy until you are dominant again and complaining of threats of having your wings clipped? Are we to believe you genuinely just want equality for the sake of the show, like a spec series, after hearing for years the likes of Newey complain about how restricted teams are to innovate? Oh, I see…only you should be allowed to innovate, not Mercedes.

      2. @indyf1fan What would they attack on the Mercedes car, specifically? Can you give an example? What part of the regulations do you perceive Mercedes to have exploited in order that the rules be changed to disallow it?

    2. Yes..I agree with Patrick. I would also like to see the engines unfrozen for a whole season with a lot more testing allowed as was the case during the early 2000s. Such complex power units were going to require at lots of free off-season testing in 2013 to have seen closer racing in 2014 and beyond. Then once frozen, limit changes with the current token system and keep engine formula stable for next 5-10 years to reduce costs.

      1. That is probably the most logically sound thing I heard on this topic. Keep the power units “unfrozen” for one or two seasons and then limit posible development to reduce costs. Brilliant. Too late for that now, anyway…

        1. And who is going to pay for such freedom? Smaller teams would have no chance in affording an engine, the entire midfield would be wiped out apart from any team with big team backing so we would be left with a handful of cars that can afford to pay any amount for an engine.

          Mercedes, Ferrari & Renault spend huge sums of money on engine development, Mercedes more than others, so when they put in that investment they need to earn that money back, costs are passed onto customers and teams go out of business, just look at Force India at the moment, they only got to pre season testing off the back of money from Mercedes for put their test driver in the car.

          The suggestion to completely unfreeze engine development and introducing more in season testing is far from being the “logically sound” plan I’ve heard. You either lose teams at the back and midfield because of cost or those in midfield that survive becomes completely spread out due to the haves and haves not in being able to afford additional in season testing. Hardly what I would call fair.

          They all had the same time in development, they all had the same amount of tokens to spend in development and they all have the same amount of time to test in the off and in season, simply because Renault screwed up in the start of the this era of F1 should hardly mean that we change the rules simply because they & RB supporters don’t feel it’s fair that their chosen engine partner isn’t as good as the competition.

          Mercedes built a better engine and and a better car, the sooner that Horner and Red Bull accept that fact the better for the sport, because Horner moaning to the media about fairness isn’t making his team any faster or the image of Formula 1 any better. Team domination comes and goes, history repeating itself in F1 over and over again, Red Bull were part of that history for 4 years, so they have 2 choices, they can either stick around and attempt to put themselves in history again or they can leave and promote their drinks in another form.

          We’re one race in, and a race of which was hit by a set a circumstance that happens once in a blue moon, with injuries and reliability, which it turns out might very well be Red Bulls own fault with their demands. Australia wasn’t a great race by any stretch, but it isn’t the case we should be using to predict what kind of season we will have. What we need now is another Bahrain moment, a race that shuts up all the critics inside the sport for a while and we can once again focus on action on the track action and not what written in some newspaper.

        2. Keep the power units “unfrozen” for one or two seasons and then limit posible development to reduce costs.

          So instead of the company with an initial advantage being able to carry that forwards and reap the rewards, the company with an advantage after one year can carry that forwards and reap the rewards? The only difference I see there is a year of expensive development, possibly some in-season (for one season only) competition and then the same situation we have now for some time after.

      2. Agreed. The engine freeze rules were implemented with a different engine formula that had been in place for several years. Introducing a completely new engine formula without suspending the development freeze was quite frankly stupid. You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see that one manufacturer was likely to get things spot on and have a huge advantage for several years. Just another poorly thought out FIA plan.

    3. If Mercedes has achived what it did with limited time under tight regulations (the same as everybody else, after all), what do you think would happen if they would have total freedom for power unit R&D, at the time?

    4. Contrary to popular belief, there is no engine freeze. All teams had the scope to develop 48% of their PUs. Ferrari did a great job of it while Renault clearly took a step backwards.

      1. kenneth chapman
        22nd March 2015, 22:57

        @ blackmamba….that is simply not true. 52% [majority] of the engine is frozen by your own calculation?

    5. I would kind of like a far more simple approach to the engine rules.. like..
      1. You can use up to 100kg of fuel during a race
      2. you can spend no more than £20m on power plant development
      3. you get 5 power plants per year
      4. go nuts

  5. Should power unit performance in F1 be equalised? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

    My answer on this question is; stronly disagree. Some who have read my earlier comments perhaps didn’t expect me to say this but I don’t believe just equalising the engines would be the fixture for our problems. If this is what we want perhaps we should just let all teams drive Mercedes engine.

  6. Can I suggest that the current situation is simply the inevitable result of over-regulation. The tokens regime was always going to to cause this type of in-equality and inability to for the teams to ‘self-equalize’ by learning, adapting and evolving by themselves.

    1. Exactly. You said it very nicely and eloquently in just a few words.

    2. over-regulation

      I think that´s the right keyword for all of this. The whole idea of cost-control over technical rules just can´t work, so it would be better to do away with that. So no token-mechanics. Furthermore, I can understand when people say engines are too important compared to aerodynamics today. However, it´s rather far too strict aero-rules than engine-rules being any lenient, cause they aren´t.
      In an ideal world, the engine rules would have a fuel-limit, some safety-things, and that´s it. The aero-rules would have three-wheels, a minimum weight, some safety-things (crash-test), and that would be it.

      1. free-wheels, not three ^^

  7. Mercedes have come up with the best engine/power unit, they deserve their success. If some people can’t handle seeing one team dominate F1, like Mercedes are, then they shouldn’t be watching or competing in F1.

    1. Too right. Imagine if snooker forced Davis to wear an eye patch to equal the field? Or made Hendry wear mittens or O’Sullivan to play with a broken ankle (he did and still won). The fact is in all sports somebody wins and the rest loses. I don’t understand how adults cannot accept that and call for rule changes.
      Keep on crying.

      1. Imagine if snooker rules would force O’Sullivan to play with the same broken cue all season long or ATP would force Djokovic to use only 4 rackets a season even if it turns out after day 0 they are useless. This site is brilliant but the polls show how biased you are.

        1. Yeah, because comparing the technology in F1 with that in primarily skills-based sports is far more reasonable and doesn’t show any attempt to skew the situation.

          1. @matt90 it is at least amusing. Comparing an F1 team & car with a snooker cue or tennis racket :)

    2. Hence viewership way down last year and wait till you see this year if things don’t get more interesting…

      1. So let’s see…RBR wins 4 years straight and there’s a concern it is because they are dominant that viewership has declined. The audience needs to see someone else win. So along come Mercedes last year and does the very thing that was supposed to bring viewership back, by being someone different in the win column. And viewership was down last year.

        Doesn’t bode well for Horner’s argument that Merc dominance is bad for the sport. If a change in the pecking order from RBR to Merc hasn’t helped viewership, then how genuine is Horner’s outcry?

        It would seem F1 has bigger fish to fry than worry about any one team dominating. That’s obviously not the problem.

        1. @robbie, It’s also interesting to note that the attendance figures for the 2015 Australian GP are slightly higher than in 2014, suggesting that it hasn’t done too much to dent the public’s enthusiasm (for that race at least).

          1. the fact it is on pay tv now almost certainly has a higher effect on viewership then any team dominating the sport

          2. Ticket sales were likely up given people thought Ricciardo was going to be in the mix again. Most tickets were likely bought well in advance of testing showing that the revised Renault engine was a lemon.

      2. But how much of that was due to the switch to pay-tv, and how much is due to the lack of interest?

        In the USA, F1 viewership is going up, and has been consistently rising over the last two years (including Australia 2015 being 5% up on last year’s). I think the pay-tv issue is hurting things more than the engines or one team being ahead of the curve right now.

  8. If Red Bull wants all engines to be equal then they should go race in GP2. I’m a big McLaren fan and I admire the way in which McLaren are just getting on with it and saying how they need to do more work etc etc. Not moaning that they will quit because Honda hasn’t got it right straight out the box. Mercedes have done the best job so far, and they deserve all the success they can get.

  9. I went with “slightly disagree” as an average of “strongly disagree” for changing the regulations mid-season and “slightly agree” that the sport could benefit from changing the regulations for future seasons.

    1. I would agree with this. RBR did get get pulled back to an extent (albeit, nothing too drastic, and same rules for everyone etc) but always AFTER the season. When the FIA tried to edit things at Silverstone (I want to say blown diffuser?) it was a farce, and everyone rightly complained. Outside of safety, changes should be after the season, that way you know the rules each year, and if is a fair competition. As a RBR fan, and this leaving rhetoric is cringe-worthy, and worrying. The FIA should try and promote close, fair racing, but once the rules are finalised it is up to the teams to do the best job they can, and Mercedes have done by far the best job this time. RBR need to accept that and look forward.

      1. Excellent comment.

  10. I still dislike the current engine specs, but I am fully against a equalization of Engines. I actually would like to see a bigger relaxation of the rules. Of course with respect to cost. There has to be a cap somewhere. I would like to see different Engines in the field. I remember when Ferrari had their V12s and Ford (Cosworth) had only a V8. But they were all fast. Why not let Volkswagen (including Audi, Porsche) build a V4 and have them race it against the V6s. Apparently that Porsche 919 has a monster V4 Hybrid.
    I also think that Engine manufacturers should be allowed more in season Testing of their equipment. Mercedes might be able to go further ahead, but it allows others to make their engines more reliable. And maybe catch up by actually finding what is wrong before the end of the season.
    It will cost a lot of money, but if you get actually more time to develop on track or where ever, it can save money later on.

    1. @us-brian The problem for the FIA is that the second they release the development hounds, the costs will very quickly spiral – Renault & Ferrari will throw astronomical amounts of money at their problems because nobody wants to lose, whilst Mercedes will have to do the same to stay ahead. They’ll then pass at least some of these costs onto their customer teams, ‘because they can’.

      If F1 was purely a manufacturer/works series, like LMP1 at Le Mans, then it’s fine – let the factory-backed teams spend all the money in the world. The issue is the FIA *know* that if they let the same happen in F1 then Sauber, Force India, Lotus & probably Williams would be dead in a few months, because we know for certain FOM won’t be releasing any more money to them. The engine suppliers won’t really care if customers disappear – at best, they’re a cash-strapped liability. At worst, a threat!

      1. I agree. However, I do think there is one simple way to limit engine costs: limit engine costs.

        Specify in the rules that an engine may only cost at most £X. In addition, make it so that any team may buy those engines, with no exclusivity or limiting. I would still say they should have to stick with the same manufacturer all season, but every season they may choose an engine partner from those available and they cannot refuse, and can not be tied in to long contracts for engines.

        This way, teams know their fixed (maximum) cost for the engine, and can choose from those available. The manufacturers can have free reign in development of those engines, constrained by the revenue they generate.

  11. F1 engines should equalize on their own merit and not by any FIA mandate, and to those that say in the past teams could always catch up by coping other designs, have we ever honestly seen another team catch-up? If we are talking about a mid pack team maybe there might have been cases of improvement, but as the top teams all have large budgets to keep developing throughout the year, catching up never really happens.

  12. There is a recent precedent, in 2008 allengines were frozen but Renault were allowed upgrades so they had similar power to the other engines. I think this was sensible seeing the engines were frozen, but we have tokens at the moment and until they are used i think it is unfair to stop Mercedes or Ferrari to exploiting their hard won advantage.

    1. But Renault were not allowed the upgrades just to catch up & Renault were not the only manufacturer that was allowed to upgrade, They were all doing it.

      Everyone was allowed to upgrade engine components providing they could prove that the upgrades were for reliability, efficiency or if they could show that the parts they were changing were been done as a cost reduction measure.

      By the end of the V8 era the Renault was still down on power compared to the rest, Something Red Bull were keen to point out many times & why they were often surprised when they won on the power circuits like Montreal, Spa & Monza.

      In fact here is an article from July 2010 with Christian Horner calling for engine equalization:

      1. Yeah– four months before Red Bull won their first double championship on the way to a total of 8 championships in 4 years. And that’s with an “inferior” engine, according to Horner. In fact, the Renault V8 won more races than any other manufacturer during the V8 era.

        What would they have done with an “equalised” engine? How do you determine “equal”, anyway? From what I heard, the Mercedes engine had the most power, but was less drivable and a bit thirstier, than the Renault.

        What Horner is really saying is, “We can’t win with what we’ve got, give us more”.

      2. I do belive that Renault were allowed a upgrade for power only in 2007. This was a one off and only came after Monza very clearly illustrated the power deficit to the Fez in identical chassis.

  13. No, it’s a competition, the best one wins.

    1. @wackyracer How come, if F1 is annual but the Pu’s are regulated and frozen for 5 seasons. I thought Teams and driver trophies were handed in December of every year not February 2014.

      My view is simple. Either you unfreeze the engine or you equalize performance. It’s a dichotomous. Is F1 about chassis/driver or chassis/driver/PU? You don’t shackle drivers because they’re good, or add handicap ballast to F1 chassis as in touring cars. Therefore if F1 wants to allow PU’s to shine and make a difference, The rulemakers will have to grant manufacturers the same theoretical rights, drivers and engineers have. This is limiting age in drivers and dimensions in chassis and finally architecture to PU’s. Unfreeze the engines and let the others TRY. Beyond trying there’s nothing humans can do.

      1. The PU’s aren’t frozen for 5 seasons though. This year they aren’t even frozen in-season.

      2. @peartree

        the PUs are regulated and frozen for 5 seasons

        They aren’t:

        Making sense of F1’s engine rules for 2015

        1. @keithcollantine @matt90 I thought I wouldn’t need to explain to co-F1 fanatics that this engine formula was designed with a progressive freezing process in mind. I wasn’t stringent but you get the point, don’t you? The number of frozen items increases throughout the seasons, the problem is that mistakes in those areas will lock manufacturers from making ammends. My point is that if you design a poor chassis you can start again next year and try again to win the championship, the PU is on a parallel universe, if you make a mistake in 2014 you may have to live with this forever.

          1. You only had to explain because what you said was false- it wasn’t obvious what you actually meant.

  14. In my opinion, aerodynamics (or the car in general) and the engine are very different things, especially when it comes to development. An engine is most often developed by an engine manufacturer for multiple teams and has a much longer development (especially with rule changes) than an aerodynamic device, such as a blown diffuser. It’s easier to (quite literally) take an aerodynamic part of a car, than it is to get less performance from an engine built to regulations. So, again, in my opinion, limiting Mercedes’ engine output would be a rather awkward thing to do; the limitation of revs, the limitation of capacity, it would very much require a double standard in the rules. No such thing has ever happened with regards to aerodynamic regulations. Sure, devices/parts that were only run by one/a few teams have been banned, but it was never allowed for the competition to ‘catch up’ and use it anyway.

    In the same regard, the past has never seen something akin to the FIA giving competitors something to catch up. Right now, with engine tokens, they could, but considering the aerodynamic bans of the past 10 years never included teams ‘handing over’ technology or had the FIA giving money to other teams to develop their own, I feel that it would be unfair to give the other engine manufacturers more tokens, simply to ‘catch up’.

    Lastly, I do not think Mercedes ‘just’ has an engine advantage. If you look at the last two sets of engine rules (The V8 era and the V10 era), the best engine did not always get the most wins. While Renault powered Red Bull to 4 double championships, they had their issues (especially in 2010 and 2012). Between 2001 and 2008, it was often said the BMW and Honda engines produced a lot more horsepower than Renault, Ferrari or Mercedes engines, but Renault, Ferrari and McLaren did just fine winning all the championships in that era. Mercedes’ current dominance is because of their package, and I think limiting the engine would probably set Force India, Williams and Lotus up for more suffering than the works team. Any penalty to the works team only would surely be the end of the works team.

  15. There is no way that the engines should be equalised until, at least, we know how they are after all the tokens have been used.

    And we must not forget that Horner is forgetting that the Mercedes engine is not so powerful that it is a Mercedes engined car filling the first eight places every race. With Ferrari filling the other two points positions.

    I also suspect that even if the PU’s were equalised, that the Mercedes team would still be in the leading Red Bull because they were able to design a complete package.

  16. No. I strongly disagree, the FIA should simply ignore these calls. If Red Bull need more excitement, then they should forget about sports and spend their money on TV shows instead.

    For sure, that is not what they want. They want to win again. But asking your competitors to not be so strong is something you would expect to see in cartoons or sitcoms, not in the real world.

    The FIA issued directives and changed rules from 2010 until 2013 because RBR were exploiting different loopholes. That is not the case with Mercedes’ cars now, at least Red Bull have not identified any rule that would be exploited by Mercedes in unintended ways.

    One day Mercedes’ domination will end, just like all the other dominations in the history of the sport. One day the rule book will be revised, it has never stayed the same for long in F1. For now, I will keep enjoying the Mercedes era, just like I used to enjoy the the Ferrari era and the Red Bull era.

  17. 1. I’d like to know what the situation is after Ferrari reportedly will upgrade engines around the fifth race this season.
    2. All should understand that “worked harder” is another way of saying “spent more money.”
    3. In light of number 2, why do we have all this token nonsense? Spend all a manufacturer can afford in original development, but restrict further development and costs via the token route. This doesn’t make sense.

    Teams should be allowed to develop their power plants as needed to roughly equalize performance. Further speed will always be found via aerodynamics and improvements to the chassis. It is hard therefore to answer the question. There should not be a penalty to Mercedes at this point. Governing bodies should allow more development. Ferrari and Sauber seem happy; Williams-Mercedes (and other Merc-powered cars) are probably chassis limited; Renault and RBR continue to make things worse; McLaren-Honda story is too early to tell. I’ll refrain from a vote until one is perhaps offered mid-season. Good article though, @keithcollantine.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      22nd March 2015, 13:39

      @curmudgeon, trying to answer your 3rd question.
      The FIA and teams designed these rules with tokens, as they all expected the manufacturers would develop very good base PU which only required finetuning through the token system.
      But at least 2 manufacturers totally misjudged the amount of preparation required to build a good hybrid PU. Also Honda is now struggling. And even Mercedes was not perfect last year considering how much extra power they uncovered the 2nd time round.

      Therefore, I agree that the teams should be allowed to develop their PU further. The big question is how to do that without spiralling costs for the customer teams.

      1. Easy, abandon homolgation rules (for now) and cap the cost of engine supply.

        1. @coldfly and @asanator Thank you for your replies. Development costs should not be passed on to Ferrari customers then – they can afford it and might not need it anyway; Red Bull, whose loud voices are the reason we are having this conversation, should eat Renault’s costs.

          1. I’m not sure what you mean, no the development costs should not be passed on to Ferrari customers (if by that you mean Sauber and Manor) they should be capped. I don’t think Redbull (or McLaren) pay for their engines anyway as they are what Ron likes to call works teams (even though they are still really customer teams) and even if they do, the cap would still apply.

            If you mean Ferrari’s road car customers, it wouldn’t happen. Ferrari aren’t short of a bob or two. ;)

          2. @asanator Red Bull, I think all agree, are being excessively noisy about this and deserve a bit of a poke. Ferrari thinks they are already close – we’ll see.

  18. i dont want them equalised but i’d want the engine regulations to be opened up to allow others to catch up and also FIA should stop governing the aerodynamics so strongly there should be some room for some creativity but before all this F1 should sort out the cost issues and its falling viewing figures which i dont believe are a result of the regulations

  19. I have a couple of points. Firstly, if the F1 community wants equal performance engines, fine – get rid of competing engine manufacturers and simply have a spec engine provided by one manufacturer (presumably Mercedes). Anything else is pointless. Either its an area where competition is allowed or it’s not. Simples.

    Secondly, (and assuming you’ve accepted my first point and rejected spec engines) it’s clear that Horner has no shame. After 4 years of failing to give Renault the credit they deserve in their part of 8 world championships, he now turns on his former allies in the blink of an eye, and with zero compassion. I know F1 is a cutthroat sport, but surely this is a step to far. Red Bull and Renault TOGETHER have failed to produce a quick enough car to fight for championships. End of. Do a better job, become accustomed to being a mid field runner, or leave F1 – I don’t have the time or patience for your whinging. I hardly as if Caterham or Marussia were lobbying to knobble every other car on the grid in the interest of the sport. Just grow a pair and get on with it, or bugger off and let someone who’s really interested in the sport have a go.

    And don’t get me started on that poisonous little troll Bernie Ecclestone.

  20. kenneth chapman
    22nd March 2015, 12:32

    i have not voted because the fundamental question is wrong. i don’t think that there should be an ‘equalisation’ at all but what i do believe is that the ‘freeze’ should be totally discontinued and that all teams are free to continue to develop, unhindered by this ridiculous token system. what that has done is cement in place a system whereby one supplier might have created something fundamental within the architecture that cannot be altered by these tokens!

    if that means that mercedes improve even more then so be it but at least all other teams are free to do their best. considering that these new PU’s are so incredibly complex the FIA should never have allowed them to be frozen for at least three seasons. they should also allow more testing to be undertaken so that races are not used as testing grounds and then we may just see some decent racing instead of two mercedes racing for the titles. this is not F1.

    1. Ok, but, escalating costs have been a big concern too, and unrestricted development escalates costs. They all agreed to the rules, and they all had an equal chance to nail their PUs before being locked in. A lock which can be opened using tokens. A system designed to rein in costs. Horner wouldn’t be uttering a peep if it was Renault that happened to nail it better than anyone else before a certain date. Or put otherwise, he’d be uttering very loud peeps if Renault nailed it and others wanted them knocked down a peg or two, just because they can’t catch up quickly enough. Unrestricted development would not even guarantee Renault would catch up, but guaranteed, all the engine makers would spend a fortune trying, which would usher out more small teams from sustaining themselves or from considering entering F1 at all.

      1. kenneth chapman
        22nd March 2015, 23:10

        robbie, you talk about escalating costs!! the introduction of these PU’s have run into mega millions if not close to 1 billion dollars when taken as an across team whole amount.

        the whole point of my post was simply to remove the restrictions that this stupid token system has imposed. yes, they are clever pieces of engineering and they have proved a point. the fact remains that F1 is not, was not, an economy run with two cars racing each other and the rest struggling to pick up the crumbs!!! of course renault are not guaranteed anything even if the freeze was lifted but at least they wouldn’t be trying to improve with one hand tied behind their back.

  21. I would say to the teams: “Next year cars shall have a power between 800 and 1000 HP and the engine shall be small enough to be fitted in your car. You will be able to use a maximum of 6 engines per season. You will be provided with 100 litres of fuel per race. If you don’t have money then quit because F1 is not for you. Good luck and see you.”

    1. If you don’t have money then quit because F1 is not for you. Good luck and see you.”

      In which case we would be down to 3-4 teams because Red Bull (With STR), Mercedes & Ferrari are the only teams that can really afford F1 right now. Williams are just about OK & everything else in on very thin ice.

      Additionally if you said that you would discourage new teams from even trying to enter F1.

  22. quoting the title, YES! I watch F1 to see who’s the best driver, I could care less about the best engineer.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      22nd March 2015, 13:24

      You’re following the wrong sport then.
      Try GP2 or Formula E.

  23. Both sides have strong arguments, but there’s one fair solution.

    It’s not good for the sport to have such strongly dominating team. Everyone likes close racing. It’s hard to watch races and qualifying sessions when you know who’ll get on top. But it’d be very unfair to artificialy equalise performance between the teams.

    So the fairest solution would be to equalise performance naturally – unfreaze engine development. It’s practically impossible for Renault to catch up Mercedes with current regulations, i. e. limited development. So it’d be fair to let them catch by outdeveloping those engines. Of course, there’s another drawback – increased costs would mean the end for smaller teams.

    1. I don’t see it as fair to change the rules that all the team’s agreed to and abided by, just because one team nailed it. That was always going to be a possibility, so it is what it is.

      Imagine if they had written into the rules for this new generation of cars that if one team dominates they will immediately have their wings clipped. Doing the best job is no longer tolerated. Would they have all agreed to such wording? Or would they have all looked at each other and said…guess F1 is not for us then. Why spend hundreds of millions if any success will be capped and discouraged?

  24. If you equalize the engines, then why should we have a constructor’s championship? It becomes a spec series like Indycar.

    1. kenneth chapman
      22nd March 2015, 23:12

      melker… case you hadn’t noticed it already is to a very large extent.

    2. @melthom IndyCar has engine development competition between Chevrolet and Honda, and from this year has opened up areas for aerodynamic development as well.

  25. F1 is not a spec series, end of discussion. Redbull can take to their wings and fly away for all I care, bunch of sour losers the lot of them!!

  26. ColdFly F1 (@)
    22nd March 2015, 13:18

    Easiest poll so far to answer: ‘absolutely NOT’.

    There are ways to get the various views closer though. Allow more tokens for all teams; I could even (hesitantly) accept bonus tokens for teams ending lower in WCC championship; allow teams to buy any customer engine; etc. But all of this should not lead to increased prices for the existing customer teams.

  27. F1 is not a spec series, end of discussion.

    Redbull can take their wings and fly elsewhere as far as I’m concerned….

  28. Before any talk of engine equalisation is brought up, the FIA must first identify what makes the W06 so fast. Surely it’s not just down to the engine, because others have the very same units but can’t get anywhere close to them.

    The only innovation Redbull came up with, was the flexi front wing and floor. It was Brawn who invented the Double diffuser, Renault the clever engine mapping and EBD.

  29. By no means should the FIA listen to this toxic team! If anything, I agree with Will Buxton: If Red Bull wants to quit, do not hold them back, but give them a nice shove. I can’t think of anyone, not even Mr Bernie himself, whose statements have ever been as damaging to the reputation as the ones that Red Bull issues on a daily basis.

    Leaving that aside, their claims are still laughable. Mercedes are dominating, because they’ve done one hell of a job, and because they’ve got two of the best drivers out there. I wouldn’t mind closer competition, but I would hate it to be created artificially. The only acceptable reason to slow them down would be the discovery of controversial technologies such as the recently banned FRIC suspension, that do not yet violate any rules, but might be considered to be against the spirit of the rules.
    By the looks of it, this is not the case. Mercedes have had the same ideas as the rest of the field, but managed to make them work better for them. Punishing them for doing the right things would be a shame.

    1. kenneth chapman
      22nd March 2015, 23:18

      @ nase …why would ‘unfreezing’ the PU development rules be determined as ‘artificial’ if anything the freezing of 52% of the possible engine development is an ‘artificial block’ to prevent any real challenges.

      1. No, that wouldn’t be “artificial”, but still very questionable for two important reasons:
        1. The engines aren’t really frozen right now. You can change more than half of their components, which is tantamount to changing all of it, as some parts don’t have a real potential for modifications.
        2. Engine development has been limited for a reason. Rising costs are posing a threat for half of the grid. After a phase of rising costs due to new developments, there needs to be a cool-down caused by slower development and a very limited number of PUs per season.

        I’ll add a third reason: These rules were agreed upon by all teams, including Red Bull. After realising things aren’t going the way they like, they started flipping tables, calling the rules (and also their decision) stupid and demanding new rules. It goes without saying that this kind of behaviour has nothing to do with sportsmanship.

  30. The answer is NO, but there should be unlimited engine development and testing alowed, so we could avoid this embarassing state the F1 is curently in.

    1. It would be even more embarrassing when there are only 3 or 4 teams that can afford to compete. You know that unlimited engine development and testing would cost a hell of a lot of money right? It sounds great but in practice it would not be feasible at all.

      1. To have same engines is a ridiculus idea, there is no point in competing then. Cost of engine development should not be up to the teams, but for engine manufacturers…if u want to compete in top sport and be competitive, u have to invest in R&D. instead of investing in concept cars that will never be driven on the road, the money should be transfered to development of racing engines, from which some solutuions can be used in roadcars. Ofcourse the team has to pay a certain amount of money for the engines, but not more than 20mil/year, the rest should be considered as a sponsorship by the manufacturer

  31. Apex Assassin
    22nd March 2015, 13:34

    Development and innovation should be encouraged and not stifled in F1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Though I agree with all above that less regulation is desirable, I find it interesting that no mention is made of the fact that Lewis and Nico reaching the top of their game as drivers and being great competitors against each other is also making a difference for Mercedes. In my other humble opinion, Horner’s rant is more to do with the other fact that Red Bull is nothing but a big marketing machine that is now no longer dominant, which corporate in Austria see as damaging to the brand, and that’s perhaps the real reason they’re throwing their toys and threatening to leave. It’s all about the BRAND, not the sport, for them. Horner and the team are great racing guys, but they dance to the corporate tune regardless.

    1. -I find it interesting that no mention is made of the fact that Lewis and Nico reaching the top of their game as drivers and being great competitors against each other is also making a difference for Mercedes.

      Very valid point. I read sometime ago a statement made by Lewis Hamilton in 2011, while still at Mclaren, mentioning that Nico Rosberg was one of the fastest drivers he has ever raced.
      Both of these men being quite good at what they do is an added contributor to Mercedes’ advantage.

      1. @thespankingcolonel @tata Could be correct – both drivers are now 30, right? What does that say about the guy who finished behind them who is 3 years younger? Hasn’t hit his peak and has 4 WDCs?

        1. @curmudgeon Personally, I’d say he did it with a great car and a guy called Newey. And I think he was/maybe is a good driver. The difference this time is that it’s a great car and really great drivers ;).

          1. @thespankingcolonel They all do it with great cars. I am not a member of the Church of Lewis. Respect is due of course, and I would never disrespect Lewis because of his accomplishments despite his rocket ship. It is troubling when others disrespect Vettel for his and only give credit to the car. Just asking for fairness and to remind people that he is still young.

  33. @keith

    Not sure what has happened on the polls but previously the bars were in a vertical line, making it easier to visualise the results of a poll.

  34. I say “No” in the same way that I say “Yes” to the question “Should a hot girls throw themselves at me on sight?”.

    What I mean is that, on principle, the whole engine thing is a competition, and Mercedes should be rewarded for their talent/effort/money.

    In practice, though, it’s my opinion that this will kill the sport for good. I wouldn’t be surprised if F1 needs to be “suspended” for one year when the grid is only 6 teams strong and full of pay-drivers. Give it another two or three years and make nothing to change these fundamentally flawed rules, and you’ll see.

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: F1 needs a budget cap, not in terms of money, but in terms of the number of people it employs. It’s insulting that some teams have as much as a thousand people working for them. And that’s not counting all the BS technical partnerships. Every team should be required to build everything BUT the breaks (and possibly the engines), with no more than 200 people, and then you’d see proper F1.

  35. Warren Thomas
    22nd March 2015, 13:49

    I don’t see how engine equalisation could change anything as their are many other teams that also has Mercedes engines and for some reason still no other team is fighting in front.. Mercedes team has just done a far better job in every other department and it is time to give credit where credit is due

  36. If say redbull’s strength is aero , then mercedes’ strength is the drive train. the situation now is that the rules allow mercedes to extend their lead while not letting redbull to gain back their deficit on drivetrain by getting ahead in the aero part.

    1. mercedes were allowed to “try” to catch up to redbull when they were winning, as aero development is allowed. redbull are not allowed to try to catch up to mercedes, as engine development is so highly restricted. redbulls dominatation was fairer – mercedes and ferrari spent as much money as redbull in that era, and it was more fair game, everyone had a fairer chance to catch the top team (Mclaren were actually the fastest a lot of times in 2010 and 2012 because of the fairness in the sporting code).

  37. Rules shall not change just because they don’t fit Red Bull results, but i would like to see some changes that allow a bigger and heterogenous grid. Reducing engine cost may work for that, also relaxing rules but mantaining the vital ones, for example: build whatever engine you want, regulated fuel with choices (methanol, diesel, whatever), 100 kg per race tops (same fuel mass for everyone, maybe less for diesel), x kg fuel sample after race, energy recovery not required but recommended, mass limit for the motor unit in kg (say 150?). Aero is something harder to regulate but aint bad at the moment, a way would be regulating the amount of hours assigned to tunnel work for every team, and enforcing testing, although 3 tests seems to be enough. A main item is that F1 is really damn expensive for everyone, from tickets to teams, that solely fact is trashing the sport.

  38. F1 is first and foremost an engineering contest, where they developers need to be able to gain an advantage from invested money, innovations and effort.
    The decline in viewers has nothing to do with RBR wining 4 years in a row, or Mercedes wining 4 years in a row (my prediction). It is primarily founded in the fact that You have to pay an expensive subscription for an expensive TV package to be able to view F1 on an expensive TV channel filled with a lot of other crap. If F1 was broadcast on free air to air TV channels number of viewers would quadruple. If we were able to show friends and colleagues highlights from the weekends race, it would help also. At work I can discuss F1 with maybe 5 people out of 800. Maybe 20 years ago 20% had seen it or followed it a little bit.

  39. They should allow TESTING and others would catch up in time.This is simply stupid.Question for UK “non biased” F1 fans.Is Hamilton winning now because he is so good or because of superior car? I heard lot of whining over last few years about him winning only because of the car so i wonder,maybe i should ask Brits what they are thinking now….

    1. About Sebastian dominance ofc.

      1. The difference of course is that Lewis was winning races and a championship before he got hold of a dominant car.

  40. It will be more fun when the engines are more equal. But so far there’s no sign that the disparity is due to tokens is there?

    There’s an engineering organisation that’s working better than the others, is all. I feel sure that FIA will wave through anything the others can come up with. But they have to come up with it.

    1. Well said.

  41. It’s not black and white.

    In the long term the engine regulations should not be frozen while Mercedes have a huge advantage, but there is no reason why the other teams should not have to work to claw that back.

  42. I wonder if Horner, upon agreeing 3 or 4 years ago to the new regs surrounding the new chapter in F1, snickered to himself…’you mean we could lock up a dominant period with this homologation thing and tokens? Heck ya I’ll sign up for that.’

  43. My biggest reason for disliking the Mercedes domination is that I don’t like Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg. If you had JEV or Button, or RAI or Webber in the Merc it wouldn’t bother me as much.
    I don’t think that Mercedes should be handicapped in anyway. They built the better car. But from the perspective of a viewer, F1 is completely lacking excitement. The big problem here is not Mercedes. The problem is this: “Save your tires. Save your fuel. Mind the gap. Turn the engine down…” The cars and drivers are not being pushed to the absolute limit, and that is big issue.

    1. Agree for the most part. I do like both LH and NR and I do find their rivalry exciting, but for sure it is tempered by conservation of engines, brakes, tires, fuel, and hugely by DRS. I agree those are bigger issues, because, as I pointed out earlier on this topic, if viewership was still down even though Merc won last year instead of the usual 4-years-in-a-row RBR, then F1 has bigger problems than one team dominating.

    2. @irejag

      My biggest reason for disliking the Mercedes domination is that I don’t like Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg.

      Can’t fault your honesty!

  44. Strongly disagree, I believe the common trend in F1 is for there to be a dominant team. More often than not someone runs away in terms of performance. Perhaps a cost cap which includes tighter guidelines on aero would aim close up the teams. To be honest, I’m a Merc fan but even if they rule the roost for several years with the kind of advantage Red Bull enjoyed during their time at the top, I have no doubt it will seem dull to most. If there were a way to effectively close up the field for each and every season I’d be for it.

  45. Hubert Reinartz
    22nd March 2015, 14:29

    I have said it here before: This is not the true Formula 1 anymore it has been for decades. Money and too many old, selfish people have destroyed the spirit of a once fantastic racing series. Now it’s a managing series: Manage your fuel, your tires, your batteries, ……… With way less money than the big teams are spending today, we could have much more fun with way more teams being able to participate. Why don’t they manage this and let the drivers be drivers – not managers. I’m loosing more and more interest and I find myself watching other racing series. Formula 1 is dead!

  46. the engine performance shouldnt be equalised, but the “opportunity” to equalise should be allowed, by getting rid of the ridiculous homologation rules. in 2006 to 2013 the v8s were homologated, but it was fair because the engine power was in parity. now it will kill the sport, a new formula, highly technical, and only 12 days testing and highly limited oportunity to implement meaningdul changes – the result is what we have now, one got it right above the others, and the advantage is locked in. this stupid sport is getting worse, i only still follow it because it is still “F1” – but f1 isnt f1 anymore, development was the central focus of f1 previous – you cant have competition with such restricted development. YES – they are trying to save money, but they need manufacturers spending as much as they can, that is what made f1.

  47. I voted no, because after all who wants to see equality in a sporting contest…

  48. Michael Brown
    22nd March 2015, 14:35

    It’s been the trend in recent years to change the regulations to close the gap. The double diffuser, blown diffuser, and double DRS were banned, so whatever advantage Mercedes has found will be banned eventually. They tried with FRIC, which didn’t do much good.

    The result is even more rules and regulations. I’m against when the governing body has to step in to slow a dominating team down because the rest are protesting because they can’t catch up.

  49. No of course engine performance should not be artificially equalised, it is not sporting, however neither is enshrining in regulation a performance advantage year after year.

    The token system was poorly conceived from the outset and should be scrapped. The engines should not have been homologated so soon as it was always going to risk one manufacturer designing an engine so far ahead that the others had no hope of catching with the token system (despite what Keith would have you believe).

    Yes Mercedes should be rewarded by coming up with such a good solution and they have reaped that reward with the 2014 championships. But to start subsequent seasons on an uneven playing field as we have done this year IS unsporting (not Mercedes fault, it’s just the way it has turned out). I don’t ever recall an F1 season where the leading constructor was so pre-determined. There was ALWAYS the chance that a different constructor would make better use of that blank sheet of paper, which this year, has not been blank.

    The obvious solution is to scrap homologation for a few years and let the engine manufacturers do what they want to do, which is develop better engines, and cap the cost of supply to the teams. The resulting competition would be a driver for efficiency and technology, both of which are what these engines were introduced for, and who knows, maybe we would start seeing engines approach the 15k rpm limit which should even help with the noise naysayers. Afterall, the companies who can most afford to spend a fortune on development ARE the engine manufacturers who are in F1 for the PR benefits and will (and already want to) spend the money to avoid the current PR disaster (Mercedes aside).

    1. @asanator

      The engines should not have been homologated so soon as it was always going to risk one manufacturer designing an engine so far ahead that the others had no hope of catching with the token system (despite what Keith would have you believe).

      I don’t follow you here – the 2014 engines were homologated before the start of last season and the 2015 engines were homologated before the start of this year, giving teams the opportunity to develop. If the 2015 engines had been homologated later the teams would have had to continue using their 2014 engines at the start of this year, which would surely have helped Mercedes?

      1. @keithcollantine Sorry, I meant that they shouldn’t have been homologated at all for the first few years.

  50. Absolutely not. If Red Bull could only manage to sign a deal with a company who cannot build a V6 Turbo with hybrid properly, than that’s their problem. If Ferrari cannot build the same power unit for their works team to the same standard of Mercedes, than that is also their problem. If Honda are five seconds off the pace with their unit, than that is also their problem.

    As far as I am aware, Mercedes simply prepared for the major shakeup in the rule changes in the heart of the car better than anybody else. They got it near-enough spot on last year, and it is shaping up to be the same case this year, if not, even better. Slowing the Mercedes engine down mid-season will also severely hamper the Force India, Williams and Lotus teams, who pay good money for their equipment, and that is equally as unfair.

    If Red Bull believe Renault have done that bad a job, then they should do it themselves, not constantly whine about the fact that Mercedes simply did a better job than Renault, Ferrari (and Honda), and nobody can blame Mercedes for doing an exceptional job.

  51. I wonder if Christian Horner would be as keen to have the revenue distribution between the teams equalised… No probably not.

    It has only been the last few years that with the V8 and ‘engine freeze’ regulations F1 had relative parity in performance between the engines, before that development was open, there was far bigger differences between the manufacturers and different specs between the customers

    We all like see close competition between the manufactures and constructors but the keyword here is competition. If Red Bull want to win again then they should get behind Renault to help develop a better engine instead of whining to Bernie and the FIA to somehow restrict everyone else.

    And like I said, if he thinks the competition should be artificially equalised then he really ought to be prepared to work from the same budgets or at least income from F1 revenue.

    He should look at Williams as a prime example.. even at the height of their form in the mid 90s they still had significantly less resource than the likes of Ferrari, Mclaren or any manufacturer team and yet they excelled. And even their recent revival was not brought about by petulant bitching to have the rules changed, nope they took a look inside themselves and restructured the team.

    And look at Manor, moving heaven a earth to simply be there. I’d be very interested to see what they could achieve with financial, technical and resourceful equalisation with the likes of Red Bull.

    1. @jimz0r

      I wonder if Christian Horner would be as keen to have the revenue distribution between the teams equalised… No probably not.

      Now there’s a question I want to hear at the next FIA press conference…

    2. Steve W (@westcoastboogaloo)
      23rd March 2015, 10:02

      COTD right there.

    3. Brilliant COTD.

  52. If FIA plan to change engine regulation, it better be damn good this time, or else F1 you die!
    Also change a lot of other sporting / racing rules, DRS for eg. – keep the technology, but change the way one can flexibly use it – Like everyone can use it within the DRS zones (every lap after initial opener laps) without they being within 1 sec behind or anything. – Here the whole point is to reduce the Drag to increase efficiency and speed where required on track in a race and also to develop a reliable system (if one’s DRS fails – their problem and races become more unpredictable) – Good technology, but shouldn’t be used as it is now for just dumb over-taking maneuvers. Introduce Active Suspension and other stuff too.

    1. Nope.

      DRS should go. Full stop.

      Also, despite Horner’s whining, it’s not really possible to change these regulations mid season. Remember when they tried to ban exhaust blowing engine maps mid season? It was a total mess.

      Plus, any changes would be unfair to Mercedes, who have simply done a better job than everyone else.

      F1 needs to re enable the designers to actually make a difference and respond mid season.

      If we can’t develop, we’ll stop moving forward and die.

    2. I honestly think DRS is criticized unfairly. I believe it adds to the spectacle more than it takes away. Moreover, in most cases, the DRS only rewards the better driver. We saw it all last season with Hamilton and Rosberg. In Bahrain Rosberg could not overtake (or rather could not overtake and defend) despite having faster tyres, DRS and a forbidden engine mode. Yet Hamilton used DRS to skilfully pass Rosberg in Japan and USA but the biggest factor there was his superior racecraft not purely the DRS.

  53. I honestly see this post as just another opportunity for people to cry about Red Bull / Horner’s crying.

    I don’t know why the question even needs to be asked, it’s already clear from comments on other posts that people dislike the proposition.

    Seriously, if this is going to be the tone of the season to come, the commentary surrounding F1 is likely to turn me off more than the lack of competition in the racing itself.

    1. True but now it’s been put to a poll, so I for one was interested and am glad to see in percentages the general sentiment surrounding this issue.

      And I think we will not lack competition, so I don’t expect this to be the tone for the season. Seems the majority will gladly move on from this topic unless they in fact do something draconian to equalize things. For now I would suggest they aren’t, so we at least have a bit of time to see how things ‘naturally’ evolve. See how Ferrari, Williams, et al fare at other tracks.

    2. @skipgamer

      I don’t know why the question even needs to be asked, it’s already clear from comments on other posts that people dislike the proposition.

      Without the question there wouldn’t be any answers. It’s clear there is a small minority in favour of it, and some have said so in the comments.

      And there have been more one-sided discussion before – remember double points?

      1. That was a rule implemented by Ecclestone, which was and worthy of being referred to throughout the season simply due to it’s illogicality and how out of touch with the fan-base it was.

        This is a position taken by a team, which should simply be ignored for the pointless conjecture (their engine wasn’t even working as intended in Melbourne) it is.

        If this turns out to be the regularly referenced poll that double points deservedly was, one of the main talking points of the season, it will be really disappointing.

  54. My neutral side would like to see Mercedes challenged and beaten. But it wants to see them challenged and beaten by hard work and engineering excellence within the letter and spirit of the rules, rather than by weak, clumsy ‘equalisation’ mechanisms.

  55. I wouldn’t want an equalization, but because of the engine freeze regulation it might become necessary at some point to at least hand out extra tokens to teams that are behind on the engine, otherwise any Mercedes team will have a lasting advantage for the next decade, or whenever they change the engines again. That is neither fair, nor desirable.

  56. Strongly disagree!

    We all need to be very careful not to discredit Mercedes. They’ve done the best job.

    The trouble is, the unintended consequence of current F1 rules see the constructors championship pretty much over when preseason testing is finished. The chasing pack don’t have the regulatory freedom to make an effective development drive to catch Mercedes.

    Changing this will lead to increasing costs, which the sport can’t have right now. There is also evidence to indicate that Mercedes won’t disappear even further up the road if development is opened up.

    Like I said, Mercedes have done the best job and deserve their success. They haven’t ‘lucked in’, they’ve built two incredibly advanced racing cars and a superb engine to drive them. They shouldn’t be punished for it, they should be applauded – even if they’ve stolen spectacle from us.

    1. EDIT – “There is also no evidence to indicate”…

  57. Everybody, but world champions, is crying. Reanult cries as they always do. Ferrari cries too. Mercedes customers say they do not have the very same engine. Honda cries….

    My solution is opening development. But with specific conditions.

    1) Homologate engine by January 31st. After that, no changes possible for the rest of the season.
    2) Everybody can buy at a decent amount of money an engine from a competitor. Lets say…Ferrari can buy Renault and Honda engines just to see what the rivals are doing in order to improve the engine for next year.
    3) Everybody should provide the very same engines they are using
    4) Engine manufacturer cannot refuse to provide engines for a team.

  58. It boggles the mind that whether F1 should be fair competition is even put as a question or that so many are against it. F1 fans are just a thing onto themselves..

    1. Are you saying that F1 needs engine equalisation to be a “fair competition”, or that equalising the engines would be unfair?

      1. It’s simply outside reason to have a development freeze and other limitations after a huge format change when inequality was guaranteed and easily foreseen.

        It’s against the basics of fairness and sport, yet so many support it completely and would not want it remedied in any way..

  59. Four consecutive years of Red Bull championship success from 2010 and 2013 will no doubt leave many with the view that it’s a bit rich for Red Bull to be complaining about how one-sided the competition is at the moment.

    I’ve never understood this claim. Things were very rarely “one-sided” between 2010 and 2013. In fact much of that period was marked by very close and competitive racing. At least partly this was due to the FIA constantly adjusting the rules to make things closer and more competitive.

    By contrast we’re now witnessing the most one-sided domination of the sport by one team in the last several decades.

    1. True, things were adjusted as RBR did their run, and they will be for Merc’s run too. But I think since it is nobody’s ‘fault’ Merc is dominant, and they haven’t done anything wrong, F1 has to be careful how they ‘equalize’ things, or head in that direction. How much do you punish a team for being the best before that makes a mockery of the sport moreso than having one team win all the time. For me at least with LH/NR they make it interesting, vs. SV/RBR and MS/Ferrari.

      Does it come down to how much domination is acceptable then? I suppose that is the crux of it.

      1. kenneth chapman
        22nd March 2015, 23:30

        @ robbie…you don’t punish a team by for being the best just like you don’t punish the ‘other’ teams by denying them the opportunity to develop.

  60. Obviously they should keep things just as they are while they watch F1 continue to fade into obscurity.

  61. But the notion that Mercedes deserve to be compromised merely because they are playing the game well is worse just wrong, it’s injurious to Formula One’s reputation as a competition.

    Where was all this concern for F1 as a competition for the last several years as the FIA made one change after another aimed at slowing down Red Bull? Not only did I not see any demands that the teams be allowed to fight it out among themselves, I saw constant demands from fans and pundits alike that the FIA “do something” to stop Red Bull winning. We’re seeing one of those communist-style rewritings of history which are a regular feature of F1. We’ve always been at war with East Asia and we’ve always opposed FIA fiddling with the rules to level the playing field.

    1. I think the difference is that a lot of the changes that were made from 2010-2013 was to close off the ‘grey areas’ which Red Bull (And others) had exploited.

      At no point did the FIA make fundamental changes to the regulations just to stop Red Bull, They merely closed off those gray areas that were been exploited & interpreted in ways that were not the intention of the regulations.

      Look at the off throttle exhaust blowing, The FIA were originally told it was necessary to help reliability & thats the sole reason they allowed it. However Red Bull took that loop hole & started doing things with it which were not the original intent of the regulation & at that point the FIA took action to try & take it back towards what it was originally intended to do.
      Also lets remember that it wasn’t banned until every team was doing it because it wasn’t until then that the development of that area really started to get pushed way beyond what the original concept was.

      Right now the advantage Mercedes has doesn’t come from a gray area, It doesn’t come because they have interpreted the regulations a different way to the rest, There advantage comes from the simple fact that they have done a better job than the rest without a need to exploit gray areas or find loop-holes.

      1. kenneth chapman
        22nd March 2015, 23:36

        @ stefmeister…i don’t think that you can catagorically state that mercedes haven’t found any loop holes. i would draw to your attention the latest FIA directive demanding that ‘fuel pressure sensors’ be integrated along the length of the fuel lines between the FFM and the injectors. it has not been introduced on a mere whim and whilst no individual PU manu has been named it may just be the one who is currently dominating? pure speculation on my part.

    2. one change after another aimed at slowing down Red Bull

      I don’t necessarily agree they were “aimed at slowing down Red Bull”, in many cases it seemed to me the FIA had decided it didn’t want teams pursuing a particular development and tried to ban it. Just because Horner says they were aiming at Red Bull doesn’t make it true. They banned the F-duct, for example, which was a McLaren innovation.

  62. I pressed strongly agree by mistake. Is it possible to undo @keithcollantine?

    The only thing that I find odd is the difference to williams. It seems that they have a good car, so why are they so far behind the mercs? The distance between Ferrari and Sauber is not that big, so I imagine Mercedes must be a step in front of averybody not only in the PU but also in another department.

    I do agree that any alteration on the rules should be regarding to aerodynamics, the thing that I most find boring about today’s formula is that the cars look all the same.

    1. kenneth chapman
      22nd March 2015, 23:40

      the fact that they all look so alike is due to the prescriptive R & R”s that are increasingly leaning towards a spec series. i would offer a challenge that if all the current cars were painted white how many people would be able to definitively tell the difference when watching the car pass during a race? of course the drivers helmets would need to white also.

  63. SkyBet currently have Lewis Hamilton a 3-1 favourite to repeat as WDC. Never before in the history of F1 have the odds favoured a single driver so heavily after the first race of the season. Count this prophetic.

    By Bahrain of 2014, it was clear it was coming to this. If the FIA weren’t asleep at the switch, they would have recognised that only Mercedes had had the foresight to see that the new TR (and its “token” system for limiting development) would reward their spending of half a billion (with a “B”) US dollars on R&D for the new engine formula with an unbroken run of WCCs and WDCs for all the foreseeable future. Because the amount of development permitted would be reduced for 2015, and reduced again for every season to follow. And Mercedes entered the 2014 season with a performance advantage so unassailable that neither money nor brilliance can overcome it, ever, not for so long as the current TR remain in effect. Because under the new TR, none of that matters so much as a team’s remaining token balance. And Mercedes have just as many tokens to being as everyone else.

    There is no way to equalise performance that is fair to all the competitors. But it is neither rational nor reasonable to expect that the people who ultimately pay for the whole of the F1 circus — the fans — will continue spending to buy PPVs and race tickets when the outcome of the event, barring an act of God or force majeure, already is a certainty.

    The FIA need to take the hard decisions now, else they will be hard done by the fans.

    1. Never before in the history of F1 have the odds favoured a single driver so heavily after the first race of the season.

      Is that actually true? The 2004 season seems like a more obvious contender.

  64. Renault and Honda should be helped cuz their success (on delivering decent PUs) will affect directly on the quality of the show.

    Right now they both suck, and if they can be worked to at least be comparable to Ferrari’s, which looks more than enough to put up a fight with Mercedes, than it would already be much better that what currently is.

  65. Though I hate to see one team so far ahead of the competition it’s against the fundamental spirit of fair competition to neutralize the advantage of a participant just because they did a far better job than others … So no there should nt be any equalisation ..the onus is on the other manufacturers to bridge the gap to Mercedes

  66. Mercedes have an advantage – well done them. Will it harm F1? – possibly in the short term. But we did not hear demands in the past from Williams and others to level the playing field in this way, except as regards cost controls are concerend and that seems a reasoanable approach. However there are far greater problems with F1 – the way, FOM run the sport, their demands for unreasonable payments to stage an event (no GP in France where it all started – brainless) screwing the fans senslessly and some teams getting paid huge amounts and others very little. Red Bull grow up or go!

    1. @andy-price – Totally agree. F1 survived the dominance of Michael Schumacher and Ferrari for all those years. Though I was not a fan of either at the time I would never have supported rule changes to punish them. They were only doing what they are supposed to do, win! Other teams are supposed to catch up. Red Bull is only admitting they are not good enough to catch up without help via rule changes.

  67. I think Horner’s whining has only made me more vehement that they should catch up off their own back- try pulling your finger out rather than crying for help (not to suggest that Red Bull employees themselves aren’t doing their best job- always unfortunate when your managers make themselves unpopular enough that you’re normally lumped in with the rest of the organisation during criticism).

  68. I’m with the majority on this one: I watch F1, to see how the teams are doing, but it’s the teams themselves who are competing and they shouldn’t be compromised so I can have fun while watching. They have done everything according to rules and better than the others, that’s it. I don’t hear skiers asking to miss some gates because they’re slower than their competitors, and if Red Bull and the others are behind they should catch up, while also competing between themselves.

  69. Equalize engine performance, yes. Allow un-fettered development of ERS and such. Done.

    1. Herumph!

      Totally agree.

  70. I think that the freeze on engines should be lifted, with the caveat that the price of engines can’t be raised. The only reason for the freeze is to keep costs down, so if the manufacturers want to dump money into development, and swallow all the additional costs, they should be allowed.

  71. If it’s just the engine, why are Williams, FI and Lotus so far behind as well?

    1. @jules-winfield – So true. And punishing the performance of the Mercedes power unit would also punish those teams. That would be truly unfair.

    2. kenneth chapman
      22nd March 2015, 23:50

      why are the others so far behind mercedes when they have the same engines? that is because they don’t have the same engines. do you seriously think that mercedes would allow a customer team to beat them? what those differences are is not known but surely they are there. like for instance mercedes have embedded their own engineers within the customer teams. no customer teams ever get to completely strip down an engine to check it out. are you also aware that the ‘boost’ button usage is controlled by the mercedes embedded engineers. i find it strange that a competitors performance can be controlled by the PU supplier and this ws borne out last year when wiliams were asked why they didn’t exact some expected maneouvres during the race and they replied that ‘we don’t always control the fast button’!!! or words to that effect.

      IMO just some of the reasons why there are large variances between teams ATM.

  72. Strongly Disagree!

    Why punish those who have excelled and reward those who did not? Changing regulations to give an advantage to teams who have not performed well sets a dangerous precedent and goes against the spirit of competition in racing.

    Having watched F1 and many other forms of racing since the ’60s can teach one many lessons including that dominance in any racing category is highly cyclical due to numerous factors. Artificial manipulation would defeat the naturally occurring progression and evolution that takes place in any racing environment.

    The only reason to give in to the likes of Red Bull and their whinging would be if you want to reward whinging over on-track performance.

    1. And what makes you think there where no “artificial manipulation” in those 50years of racing cycles you watched?

      1. @rethla – I’m sure there was some. Just not a fan of it.

  73. When I voted it was about 60% in strongly disagree, about 30% in slightly disagree and about 8 in slightly agree (with 12 votes cast), at the time I thought it would probably change a bit and divide more into two sides with agree/disagre not that wide apart.

    Now I looked at the vote with 33times as many votes and the strongly disagree even went up to almost 70% (total of 80% for disagree) while the slightly disagree went up to 11%. Again, we are the more avid fans, but I certainly hope some people at Red Bull follow these votes.

  74. There is an easy fix to this in my mind. Separate the drivers championship from the constructors. Constructors championship had cards as they are now. Drivers championship adopts ballast to equalize the cars. Having separate races for each over the weekend. Obviously over a shorter distance.

    1. If they did that I’d stop watching, I’m not keen on shorter races & I cannot stand categories which use what I consider gimmicks like Success ballast (Big part of why I no longer watch touring cars).

  75. So people are saying RBR were given multiple stops to reign them in but not Mercedes…yet unfreezing the engine regs and allowing what has been allowed for 2015 before closing it off isn’t an attempt? They gave the ability to Ferrari and Renault to catch up, and Ferrari used that time to find more speed and power, Renault supposedly have more power too. At the same time they stunted the growth that Honda could have further had on their new engine (and stopped another Mercedes).

  76. I sit somewhat on the fence for this issue. I agree that it would be unfair to balance the performance of the engines because Mercedes have legitimately earned their advantage. However I think that the rules around development are too restricted. It seems impossibly difficult for the engine manufacturers to catch up to Mercedes. It that respect the rules are not fair.

  77. Without question no. Absolutely no. If you steal a lead well done, it’s up to the others to catch up. It used to be called innovation, that is what the sport is based on. If you are within the rules I take my hat off to you.

  78. Here’s why I voted ‘slightly agree’ even though I think it is completely fair for Mercedes to reap the benefits of their work. The FIA has spent years allowing and disallowing things, seemingly at random. Brawn’s diffuser, fine, then later whittled away. Off-throttle exhaust blowing, fine, then not. They’ve also equalized away McLaren’s f-duct, disallowed Renault’s mass damper, restricted winglets and down force. Almost all as a way of eliminating advantages and tightening restrictions. So this really isn’t much different. Yes, it seems that Merc are simply being innovative and good at their job rather than skirting the rules, but so were a lot of other things that have been banned or neutered or equalized.

    My personal preference is to relax a lot of the restrictions in phases to allow teams to head in different directions based on their own preferences, areas of expertise, and strategies. Until that time, however, equalizing engines is just another step down a path they’ve been on for some time.

  79. The question is not if the performance should be equalized, but when.

    When all the changes have been used up and the engines cannot be changed anymore and big differences still exist, there should be some form of equalization. Or some manufacturers will be driven out of F1.

    Pretty much the same deal as with the V8’s. There was some percentage in the rules for maximum performance difference. After the freeze on the V8 designs, Renault (and to a lesser extent Ferrari) did get some extra updates to achieve engine equality. Although Red bull kept complaining how the Renault engine should be allowed more updates because it was marginally lower on horse power when of course they failed to mention that it made up for that in driveability and lower fuel consumption.

    Mercedes will have profited from their advantage for some years (as they did with the V8’s) and in the end we get a level playing field. At least engine wise.

  80. Jean-Christophe
    22nd March 2015, 21:56

    Would you ask Usain Bolt to run with one shoe or to slow down so that those behind can catch him? Either F1 is a sport and the best should win either it’s a show like WWF and results should be rigged

    1. kenneth chapman
      22nd March 2015, 23:57

      @ jean cristophe, no you wouldn’t ask usain bolt to do any of those things but if he came up with a new featherweight running shoe you wouldn’t expect the others to, by regulation, continue with heavy weight thick soled shoes either!

  81. I am not pro or anti Red Bull, however, I feel sorry for Horner. While he is on record as making the comments about Mercedes being reigned in, I can’t help but shake the feeling he is being tasked with doing Marko’s dirty work. Not just for these comments, but from day one. The perception of Marko is not favourable, much of which he deserves from Mark Webber’s treatment. Horner is smart enough to know the cyclical nature of Formula 1. The rule changes every few years swing back and forth from aero to engine/mechanical. They aced the recent aero era but mainly through their engine partner are struggling with the new regulations. The knee jerk reaction doesn’t fit with someone widely perceived as being intelligent enough to run a top F1 team. Marko on the other hand, comes across as a manipulator. Someone who will pack his toys, storm off and pout if things don’t go his way. Hopefully, Horner will get a backbone one day and put him in his place.

  82. Yes but they should do it not by handicapping Mercedes, but by allowing the other teams/engine manufacturers the ability to upgrade/develop their engine more freely.

    Simply handicapping the Mercs will be no good for anyone…

  83. Many motor racing series have limitations on engine power and such like, so one could argue there isn’t any reason F1 can’t have the same rules. The problem with this is F1 is supposed to be the premier motor racing series, so for that reason alone it shouldn’t have rules limiting engine power.
    The problem you create by deciding to limit engine power is the same when you decide to change the cylinders: when you change the power limit then one engine manufacturer will produce a better engine than the rest, and start to dominate the races, which is exactly the situation you have now.
    I do think the “4 engines in a season” rule is sensible, and maybe that is a way around the problem: Don’t homoglate one engine and say you can only have 4 of these. Instead insist on just 4 engines in a season, and before you race with that engine you have to register the design with the FIA, and then that is the design you race with. If, like Honda, you got it wrong … sorry, that’s just tough, your engineers chose that design, you’ll have either suffer for a few races or improve your remaining 3 engines and hope they last out the season.

  84. For me, it’s the same as a student requesting an equalization of the grades after a semester because the other guys have studied more.

    Pointless and childish.

  85. When they dominated and SB won 13 races in one year (or was it in a row? Can’t remember, so boring), they never complained about being too dominant themselves. It’s hypocritical to complain now. Want a hanky, Chris?

  86. Lift the development restrictions and let those boys (and ladies, of course) do their thing. Make all those cars as fast as possible!

  87. As much as I strongly disagree to forced equalization, I strongly disagreed to last year’s “freeze”. Can someone explain to me WHY teams are forbidden from catching up?! In other terms, if you oppose equalization; you oppose any freeze. and if you are for the freeze, then you are for equalization. Simples.

  88. Someone else noted it in another post, that RBR’s last win was approx 200 days ago. Ferrari, Williams and McLaren were at 400-500+ days. None of those three teams are whinging about the regs, all three are working hard at toppling the Merc domination. Perhaps Christian and Marko should spend a little more working with Renault and less time complaining about the regs.

  89. Director: So 4 years ago we developed an awesome engine and we came in second.
    Potential sponsor: so what have you done to improve?
    Director: nothing…. We just keep coming in second.
    Potential sponsor: ………….

    Can you imagine saying this in real life? My god would you get fired.

  90. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    23rd March 2015, 0:11

    Red bull were reined in because they were breaking the sporting regulations. How can you penalise Mercedes when they’ve done nothing wrong, and just made a far superior package? It’s ridiculous.

    Red bull are just whinging because they did a poor job. Live with it.

  91. There should be some parity put in place. F1 whilst considered a sport like NFL, Baseball, Cricket…. it must also be entertaining. Currently f1 is not entertaining it is boring not just because of merc but the overall racing is crap. Last year there were only a handful of races which were entertaining which were a result of safety cars (Spain), or Hamilton coming through the field because his car failed him. Every sport worldwide has gone through changes to make it more entertaining. I remember they got rid of the pass back rule in football to make it more entertaining (stop time wasting). F1 seems to make changes that make the sport more boring.

    Is it fair on Merc to promote parity, hell no they are getting screwed; however is it to the better for the overall show, and more entertainment? Yes. It will close the field up. F1 is in trouble, When you cannot fill a grandstand in Germany, when Merc is the constructors champion, you have a german 4 time world champ on the grid and there are two other german drivers there is an issue.

    This is not about being fair or not. This is about the show. The current show is pathetic. If Merc dominate in Malaysia and by a considerable margin, people will turn off in droves. Viewing numbers collapse and f1 as a marketing product is dead. This is the issue.

    1. F1 whilst considered a sport like NFL, baseball, cricket… it must also be entertaining.

      I already find F1 much more entertaining than those things, as I suspect many others here do, and I see no reason to taint the competition to appease those who do or those like Horner who seem to believe that if they’re not winning that means there’s something wrong with F1.

  92. No, just a big no. This will erase all the hard work that Mercedes have done, you can’t get everything right if you don’t work it out.

  93. No way. When McLaren won 15 out of 16 races in 1998, I don’t recall the other teams screaming for equalization. If you have the best car and engine package then you will likely win a lot of races. It’s a little premature to want to equalize engines in the second year of new engine regulations.

    The other teams need to figure out how to improve and beat Mercedes. No more whining please!

  94. As a Red Bull fan, I say yes and as a die hard F1 fan I urge the rule makers to come up with something that will simplify the regulations for the current PUs and allow the rest of the grid to go racing too.
    Too few cars were able to participate in the GP. As viewers now forced to watch the races via pay TV (they stopped showing it LIVE on free-to-air, that first race was very poor, very boring, only helped by the fact that we were all desperate after 4 months of no F1. Bring back more testing days, and give those with less points more mileage or days to test and not just for this season or era. Everybody inc the fans wins!!

  95. Absolutely not. There’s no point in a manufacturers’ championship if they can’t even develop their own engines and cars. And Red Bull’s defecit to Mercedes isn’t down to engines alone; Torro Rosso and Sauber are on equal footing with them. Red Bull also built a relatively subpar car.

  96. Mercedes shouldn’t be penalised for doing a better job.

    Teams shouldn’t be locked into an uncompetitive option.

    So the only answer is to open up development.

    We can’t be in a situation where one or more engines are just useless. Because then what’s the point in them being in the sport. Cosworth gave up because they couldn’t get near the other teams largely due to budget.

    We have 4 manufacturers all with the budget to develop competitive engines, one has cocked it up and is locked by the rules not being able to sort the issue.

    No one wants run away budgets as the smaller teams are already being killed off so the solution to put to the engine makers is you can have unrestricted development, but cap your prices to the customer teams and accept them as marketing costs. Honda already makes it engine for McLaren for free, the raw costs of supplying another team won’t hurt it. Renault and Ferrari only charges one customer team, it’s not really recovering the cost there. Only Mercedes would object because they are already supplying more teams and already have the best engine. But the good of the sport is crucial.

    1. @philipgb – and when the engines can be demonstrated to be roughly even, then we unlock the chassis development because Mercedes has an advantage there too. Maybe after that we can try to equalise the aero performance, because Mercedes has an advantage there as well. And Mercedes cars somehow seem to be much kinder to their tyres – maybe we could redevelop their compounds and construction, too? Where do you stop? By the way, this process is caller “Hornerising”.

      1. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the fact that this comment appears to find itself to be a winning argument by presenting the mad idea of development being unlocked.

        Happily, I just laughed at this oppugnant pococuracha, sensing that the contributor feels he’s nailed the nub of the issue in disparaging the very thing that is the cure and the fundamental raison d’etre of Formula One: the ever sharpening cutting edge of technical progress.

        Sadly, now the tears come, knowing that this sort of inimical anti-F1 nose-poke is, en masse, having its effect.

        We now have engine builders spending the vast majority of their budget trying to get fewer and fewer engines to be reliable at the expense of performance.

        Each engine now has to cover over 1500 miles, where it previously would cover as little as 200 miles in a single race.

        The unit cost of an engine, once designed, is relatively negligible. Yet the FIA introduced a cap on the number of engines and gearboxes a car can use and, this year, dropped the motor quota from a pathetically paltry 5 to a punishingly penurious 4.

        If a team could bring a new engine to each race, it would have little need to dedicate a huge dollop of its money to longevity, as the risk of an engine blowing would be outweighed by the benefit of pace. Now, pace is almost an afterthought for Renault, Honda, Mercedes and Ferrari bookkeepers, and so, whether or not they get lucky and make something powerful and drivable, the weight of advancement presently would tend to bleed through to the real world in benefiting the life-cycle of construction generators, buses, trucks and vans (should they ever need to use V6 hybrid turbos), and not domestic and leisure vehicles (that commonly use this configuration).

        The pure luck should manifest at the end of the race when the spent engine is still running, not three months before the season starts when a manufacturer takes a stab in the dark, homologates a motor and hopes for the best.

        Remember, when one of your four engines blows up because it is near impossible to race reliably across a season with so few new installations, that means you go slower and slower with your remaining three, and then two, and then one, and your whole season is destroyed. If you had the maximum allowance of up to 20 engines, a single blown engine would effect nothing but the event in which it blew up.

        No wonder Germans are losing interest. They always were sticklers for an intense and robust fight.

  97. It would seem to me alot of the talk over the last weekend was about how the mercs and now to a certain degree the Ferrari put the power down and smooth delivery of the power ( the words used driveability) not saying they don’t have a power advantage as well but its definitely not the whole story and if we look at the final places a Ferrari came 3rd in front of alot of merc powered cars so maybe its a Renault problem or even red bull problem because the 2 rookies in a torro roso didn’t do to bad either I think the sport goes in cycles look at Williams a few years back absolutely nowhere but in the 80s and 90s they were brilliant same with todays McLaren compared with 10 years ago , red bull need to stop moaning get their heads down and work hard to improve.

  98. Lawrence Roberts
    23rd March 2015, 12:38

    Absolutely not. The sporting regulations establish the framework within which all of the constructors must work to develop their respective cars. Why should Mercedes essentially be punished because they have, through their own ingenuity and diligence, built a superior product? Horner’s comments, obviously on behalf of his whining owner, are so transparently hypocritical.

  99. what a wretched attitude from Red Bull.

  100. I wonder about engine equality in the way that Mercedes may have the best Mapping of how to make the different components work best together. I have no idea if that is the case, but is it possible that the mapping the customer teams have is not the one that Mercedes use? Is it mandated anywhere that they have to share that or is it up to the individual teams to come up with that on there own? I think the new engines are good in that they are cutting edge, but it is frustrating to see something so complex that it prevents people from participating or competing in a race….

  101. Once engines get equalized, will they have to equalize aero too?

  102. Mercedes is ahead on shear skill having developed a superior power plant and they deserve all credit for this.

    That said, in the years I have followed F1 there seems to be a reason why one team is able to dominate all others by a gap as substantial as Mercedes has. It all comes down to interpreting the regulations and pushing the envelope in finding creative ways to gain an advantage on your rivals. Often times these loopholes are perceived as cheating or going against the intended spirit of a rule.

    I may be wrong but Mercedes seems to have found this advantage. The scenerio that makes the most sense to me is that Mercedes is circumventing the 100kg fuel flow limit. Not at the meter the FIA use to monitor official fuel flow rate, but in other areas of their fuel system. They could be guaranteeing the 100kg/hour at the meter but increasing this in another area of the system. Both Mercedes and Ferrari have updated turbo systems on this years car to possibly withstand 500 bar. It was at 250 bar last year, as Renault’s still is.

    Could it be that the updated turbo is to handle increased boost pressure? From a higher fuel flow rate not detectable under current scrutineering rules?

    1. My observation watching over the years is with the teams who were really up to no good, there was always a “tell” of some kind that the naked eye could observe somehow, or the trick was impossible to hide in plain view or under scrupulous scrutineering. E.g., Benetton “unused” traction control program, Benetton fuel rig manipulation, McLaren dual brake pedals, Renault mass-damper, RBR flexi-wings, Ferrari bendi-floor.

      I would flag though that one infamous cheating question that has never been resolved is RBR’s rear ride height manipulation. Other teams, at the time, were adamant about this. The web was filled with technical analysis and theories about it. But in the end no one ever found out how RBR was making visually obvious manipulation of rear ride height. Could be Horner and Newey will take that one to their graves. But the point is, sometimes I suppose teams do get away with stuff. But even where people don’t know the mechanism, or even when they are just seeing things, when a team has an obvious advantage or unusual car behavior, other teams cry bloody murder and do their best to direct harsh scrutiny.

      1. I agree on the unresolved RBR rear ride height and wish the mechanism had been exposed.
        Maybe once Horner or Newey or a RBR engineer that knew the mechanism moves on from RBR and shares this with another team or individual then we’ll find out.

      2. kenneth chapman
        24th March 2015, 11:16

        @ dave w…..infamous cheating by RBR!!! absolute tosh. do you seriously think the combined efforts/expertise of the other teams analysis and the FIA did not scrutinise the RB cars in the minutest detail? if RB were allowed to race then they were cleared of any illegality or infringement and rightly so. the same should be said, ATM, of mercedes as they haven’t been subjected to any claims of illegality. that said, the new directive for pressure sensors is aimed at someone/somewhere. it didn’t just arrive on the doorstep unannounced. therefore to assume that no one is exploiting the R & R is without contest.

  103. What if the engines were “equalized” down to having the same torque curves? There is no reason to assume that RBR would win a single race even in this situation. Last year, we saw little if any indication that the variance in the power-intensiveness of a track substantially varied MB’s level of dominance. The only indication was that other cars could get closer in qualifying at Singapore, but in the race, they still got dusted—that is what superior traction, stability, balance, and aerodynamic efficiency does. If I were Horner, I would spend my time and energy attacking elements of Mercedes’ internal aero-packaging as outside the norm and a primary candidate for restriction in the interest of managing overall speeds in the sport, a recognized argument for regulation. Asking for another team’s engines to be restricted is beyond the pale.

  104. kenneth chapman
    23rd March 2015, 23:10

    whilst i have absolutely no time for the management of red bull after the atrocious treatment handed out to mark webber i think we need to look deeper into the meaning behind horner’s words. what i read here is that perhaps renault have made a fundamental error in the PU design that can’t be solved with tokens as they do not cover this area of concern. if that is the case then RB are staring down the barrel of ignominy for quite a few years. that would be anathema to a team like red bull.

    this stupid arrangement of development tokens does little to cover the aforementioned problem, if that does itself exist. the only way that this anomaly can be corrected is to allow all teams to freely develop their PU’s for a set period of say three years. then there can be no excuses. if mercedes are still in front then that is fine but at least all teams are operating from a level development field in a regulatory sense.

  105. Whatever happened to F1 being the pinnacle of motorsports? How about open development again. No tokens, no fuel flow restrictions, just a max fuel load and maybe the current aero rules if you must. Call this “no BS” racing.

    1. kenneth chapman
      24th March 2015, 11:18

      @ johny stick….yes please. i’ll have some of that.

    2. F1 IS the pinnacle. It’s a bit too complicated for Christian Horner, in fact! He’s off to race V8 tintops I imagine.

      You have to manage circuit racing. If you only had a max fuel load then they’d be having 1500 bhp available for short periods, it would be lethal.

      And as for the tokens – there’s no sign that anyone has been affected by them yet.

  106. This one goes out to: @xtwl who seems to think I can´t reply.

    I voted strongly disagree.

    Horner says they never had the kind of domination that MERC is displaying and I´ve got an easy answer for that. NOW the POWER UNIT is what really matters now. Turbo engines have more power to be extracted from them than what the old v8´s could have. Forget aero (sure it still plays a big part), you better have a pretty darn good PU if you want to roll with the big boys. MERC did do their fair share of whining by threatening to pull out if the FIA didn´t change engine regs in to their favor. Sure, they knew they were miles ahead in that department and they were smart to do so. The difference in both scenarios is that MERC is a manufacturer… RBR is just a drinks company. Having also said that, they are only a PU customer. If what you have doesn´t cut it for you, then go fish!! Try to get whatever works best but, for the love of God, stop with the whining!! I for one, could care less if RBR leaves!!! I much rather see more manufacturers than a “drinks” company. At least in 2013 they waited until Barcelona to shift things into their favor, this year it only took them 1 race!!!
    Do I personally like MERCS dominance? Well yes and no. Yes because it makes F1 go it´s roots when the PU and the drivers really mattered. No because it is boring from the “show” point of view. It would be much much better if the races would be tighter. That would make it perfect! The truth is that only 1 race has gone by. The others still have their tokens so I predict that the season will get better inevitably so that is the main reason why I absolutely despise RBR´s moaning… They should seriously MAN UP!!
    Did anybody say anything about “poor” Alonso being lapped in HIS hometown GP in 2011??? Although he made the best ever start, it was not enough. He got lapped and was an utter embarrasment and did anybody say anything? Did Ferrari moan like RBR is doing now?? Or how about the four years that it took MERC to finally achieve their goal? The way they would always get pole but drop back like an anvil in the ocean?? Did they moan?? Oh wait, actually they did… they moaned about a PU change if not they would leave. But all in all, the PU change is actually good, I miss the noise but, that is really what F1 is about… Who can produce the best engines, etc. That is good in my view. I totally dread though how the AERO aspect used to be king.

    1. No I didn’t mean you can’t reply. I ment I can’t reply in the forums on your post somehow. I don’t know why that is.

      1. @xtwl

        I believe you have to join the group first and then you can reply. I believe that´s the way it goes. It´s really weird but that´s how it works.

        1. @karter22 I am joined. Don`t know.

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