“No presents” in engine cost cut plan

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: F1’s engine manufacturers respond to the FIA’s request for a limit on the cost of the current power units.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Battle lines drawn in engine cost debate (ESPN)

"We are negotiating to make sure we will offer the engine at the best possible price, but we can't give a present to anyone."

Alonso: Lack of development makes racing boring (Crash)

"You make progress, everyone makes progress, but because the rules are very strict you cannot develop very much in terms of engine freeze and the aerodynamic being very restricted, and that is making the races very predictable and very boring."

Lotus insists F1 future not under threat (Motorsport)

"We are in an unexpected situation in terms of paying our bills."

Perez surprised by Lotus struggles (F1)

"When we see all the simulations they seem to be half a second a lap quicker than us - but for some reason, some reliability issues, they haven't been able to exploit their full potential."

Williams must 'analyse' team orders (Autosport)

"I don't want to say too much. It was quite clear I had a bit more pace at that point, but this is racing."

Mosley calls for F1 cost cap (Sky)

"The end the only way to stop that is to draw a line and say 'this is what you can spend'. I know it can be enforced."

British GP deciding moments (Markku Hanninen via Medium)

"The rain hits the track when cars are in sector three and this is the point when Hamilton and Vettel make their famous call to pit."



Comment of the day

Should Jenson Button consider jumping before he’s pushed?

Jenson Button should retire proudly this season, and should announce it himself before getting sacked from the team. Last year already he was close to quit by the back door – which he doesn’t deserve.

He is a great individual, a team player, a world champion after all; he must feel the end won’t be long and he better have a proper farewell at the last grand prix of the season than an unknown exit on December 2nd.
Jayfreese Knight (@Jeff1s)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Huzeifa!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Jacques Villeneuve at Road America 20 years ago today as he continued on his way towards the IndyCar title – and a switch to Formula One the following year.

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

77 comments on ““No presents” in engine cost cut plan”

  1. Fernando doing his racing at the back of the grid is not right. Surely it goes to show that the driver:car ratio is not 50:50.

    Anyways, with all we saw over the weekend there are some things I feel we missed out on, does Button still have what it takes to drive in the wet? How do the Lotus, Sauber and Toro Rosso handle the wet? How would the rookies, Nasr, Verstappens and Sainz have handle the changing conditions? Where would Ricciardo have handled the changing conditions and where would he have finished?

    1. @mim5 From F1metrics: “Performance = Driver Performance + Team Performance.

      Interestingly, once the model is fitted to the data, team performances account for 61% of the variance in overall performances, while driver performances account for 39%. This is consistent with the common wisdom that team performance is a more important factor than driver performance in Formula 1.”

      It’s at least 60-40 :P. I would even say 80-20..

    2. @mim5
      I think most F1 drivers could win a race if they had a competitive car for a season, but few could win a WDC.
      None would ever win a race in a car like this year’s McLaren (freak weather or an Indy 05 type incident aside).

      1. I’d have to agree and would cite Pastor’s win as supporting evidence!

      2. @beneboy Indeed, a copy of that race would require the McLaren-Hondas, Manor-Ferraris and last year’s Caterham resurrected with the old Renaults!

    3. Alonso has basically highlighted one of the main problems (along with most of the circuits not being challenging enough and too conservative in their layout design) with F1 that has plagued it for the last 10 years or so. The technology restrictions have become too great; so much so that over the years it has been harder and harder for teams to legitimately catch up.

      1. Although you have development restrictions on one side and the costs on the other and I don’t think you can fix both. Opening up the rules for greater development would just increase costs even more and would result in larger parts of the grid becoming even more of a split or in terms of engine development costs increasing even more and teams dropping out or if a engine cost cap came in then engine manufactures leaving the sport. On the other hand if you bring costs down in terms of a budget cap, which would never work anyway because of how F1 teams would just hide their development costs, Ferrari already do this with mixing their F1 team with their road car books, and Ferrari aren’t going to hand over their accounts to the governing body of F1 to look over. Engine costs could be brought down but Mercedes, Renault & Ferrari would need a financial incentive to do so, they are after all a business, While it’s true they need F1 to be popular with a good sized grid for promotional purposes it’s also true F1 needs them, because without them all the drivers would be flinstone-ing themselves down to turn 1, Which isn’t much of a business model.

        That’s the real problem with F1, it has problems you simply cant fix. It’s like an old water pipe that has sprung a leak, you seal it off and the pressure builds up again and it finds a new weak spot and a new leak is formed. You can carry on patching up the pipe but eventually the whole thing has to be replaced.

        1. pxcmerc (@)
          9th July 2015, 6:05

          sorry, but people who keep regurgitating the “it increases costs” line need to think for themselves. Firms will continue to spend as they see fit, if you want to decrease costs, you will open up the F1 market and allow real innovation and competition. As it is setup, costs will only continue to climb, because the rewards continue to diminish, and risks will continue to amount for the “have not” teams. This is what happens when you allow a monopoly of interests to drive. Cut the politics and the red tape, let the free market and nature take it’s course, stop polluting people’s minds with dogma and artificiality.

          1. @pxmerc
            But in a free market smaller teams have no right to complain about cost.
            They can not complain about how the money is divided between the teams. In a free market, it’s every man for him self. If you look at the budgets of 2000 and you look at the budgets of today you will see that they are almost the same. In fact the budgets of today is smaller then 2000. If you take in to account inflation, that means that budgets has come down a lot. The problem is that smaller teams of today are trying to punch above there weight and getting them self’s in financial trouble. Yes a free market is wonderful as long as you have a lot of money or willing to work hard, keep a reasonable financial model and do not try to hit above your weight to soon. In a free market it takes time to build a team but in F1 every must be competitive from the word go.

          2. sorry, but people who keep regurgitating the “it increases costs” line need to think for themselves

            I do think for myself thank you, however are you saying Ferrari didn’t increase their budget by €100,000,000 just to catch up with Mercedes this year alone? That’s bigger than alot of the smaller teams have for the whole season, yet Ferrari are throwing that down with regulations that are tight, imagine how much they would throw down if they were opened up even more for further development. This isn’t a “line” this is just simple fact. They are increasing their costs. All in the name of winning.

            There are certain technologies that could be introduced into F1 that would actually cut costs while increasing performance, I remember reading an article about active suspension being one such technology. But you can’t seriously think that opening up the regulations to allow for greater development opportunity will decrease costs simply because teams wont spend such vast amounts of money looking for small performance gains in tight restrictions? No, they will spend vast amount of money to exploit a more open regulations and then they will continue to spend vasts amount of money perfecting their developments, or copying other teams expensive developments because they work better.

            let the free market and nature take it’s course

            I’m not actually sure what you mean here unless you are saying open up the regulations and whatever will be will be? If so I don’t think that is particularly clever.

          3. let the free market and nature take it’s course

            While I am all for opening up development (I’m an engineer, and love seeing the new tech more than the racing), saying that a free and open market would reduce costs is… misguided at best.

            The problem is that some teams have no incentive to reduce costs. By opening up development those teams will continue to spend the same amounts (or more) on development because they can. It becomes an arms race.

            F1 is better depicted as a war than a market. All the teams want to win, and will pour whatever money they have available into it. They won’t look to save costs at the expense of performance unless they have to (e.g. they’ve run out of cash or there are restrictions in place to prohibit them doing so).

  2. That force india is a beauty!
    What a beautiful, beautiful car!

    1. I really like it too, and I really hope SFI succeed. In the end SFI is the youngest “new team” to have become a factor in F1. Heavily inspired on the RB philosophy. A change of livery, nose and some detailing boom RBVJM.

    2. Almost in spite of myself i really like SFI these days. The team races well, and seems to gel, drivers are delivering a bit beyond the VJs potential, they are likeable and clean, livery is attractive and the cars themselves ( cost-performance ) are good year on year.
      This is the kind of venture and performance that keeps me engaged on the sport as a whole – technology, sport and show, SFI delivers. Also, Checo and Nico are exciting drivers any day and keep one’s interest in Q2 and beyond racing for front positions.
      I think the contribution of these midfield teams is very much undervalued by CVC et al.

  3. Well, the FIA mandated 1,600 cc turbos to be “green” and “technically relevant to road car development.” Now we’ve got some that work well and a couple of lemons regulated to no track testing an a limited number of tokens to improve matters. The new technology is about ten time more expensive than the old V8s, so the big boys claim “business models” to justify high prices, and the small boys claim foul.

    Regulations are not doing the sport a favour (this applies to most aspects, not just engines.) If Renault and Honda bow out, F1 will die … and after 65 years watching F1, I for one will be deeply saddened.

    1. @paul-a, you are massively exaggerating the costs of the new engines, which are nowhere near 10 times the old V8 engines.

      Toto Wolff has publicly stated what an engine supply contract cost under the old V8 regulations and under the current V6 turbo regulations. An annual supply from Mercedes for the old V8’s cost €14 million a year (and Mercedes’s competitors typically charged between €10 million to €14 million), whereas today Mercedes charges €16.5 million for their engines (and their rivals charge from €15 to €17 million).

      Now, it is inevitable that there will be some front loading of costs due to a change in engine format – the V8 engines were also quite expensive, when you account for inflation, when they were introduced – but the difference in costs is nowhere near as extreme as some figures like to make out.

      1. I would really like to see the link to those figures, because either Wolff or virtually everybody else is outright lying. First of all, there was a cap on the price of V8s, and it was definitely below EUR 14 mil, it was closer to 9 if memory serves. Secondly, almost all team representatives claim that the engine costs were doubled when they switched to V6s. It played a large part in the demise of Caterham and virtual demise of Manor, it badly hurt Sauber, which Kaltenborn repeatedly said.

        Ok, you could say that neither of them used Merc engines, so, perhaps, it doesn’t apply to them? Here’s what Williams finance director, Alan Kinch, told the Independent: “Costs went up by about £20m and the reasons for that were three-fold. The first one and the most significant one of all of them was the increase in costs in the power unit. So, moving from the traditional V8 engine to the new V6 hybrid essentially doubled the costs of the power unit and that was the biggest chunk.”

        So, it’s not 10 times of course, but it’s not the ridiculous 2.5 mil that Wolff claims. I wonder what other claims of his are also lies.

        1. Since you ask, here is the direct statement from Wolff:
          “The old engines were somewhere between €10 million ($11 million) and €14 million ($16 million). If you had a Mercedes engine the price was around €14 million ($16 million), today you are around €16.5 million ($19 million). The wrong figures are flying around. I would say that if you look at the complete market, including our competitors and us, it costs between €15 million ($17 million) and €17 million ($19 million) – it’s about 15 to 20% more for the new generation of hybrid power units. I don’t know where the other figures come from. They are wrong numbers.”

          It does tie in with a remark that Clare Williams also made, where she said that the engines were $20 million a year, which goes against what Kinch has said.

          With regards to the price cap, I understand that the V8’s were capped at $15 million per year, which would effectively be the upper end of the range that Wolff mentioned.

          As for Manor and Caterham, the cost of the engines was not a factor in their demise – Manor had been in financial trouble from its inception, with the owner of Marussia having written off more than $200 million in debts that the team had racked up over the years. They made a record loss of $58 million in 2013 alone – even if they were given free engines, their sponsorship income was so low that they were always going to go bankrupt, and they were already facing complaints about non payments of debts in 2013.

          In Caterham’s case, that might be more down to poor fiscal management all round – when Kolles was called in to advise them, he considered the team to be a basket case because he felt that Fernandes was spending too heavily, but not actively thinking about where he should be investing his money and therefore wasting most of the teams income on misdirected activities.
          There were signs that their problems extended beyond 2014 – their accounts for 2012 showed they were being propped up with payments from the Bank of Malaysia, presumably through Fernandes, and their accounts for 2013 were already overdue when they announced their financial problems in 2014.

          As an aside, whilst Sauber have complained about the engine costs now, their finances were already in major trouble under the V8 engine format.
          Hulkenberg has revealed that Sauber did not pay him his salary in 2013 and Ferrari were threatening to withdraw support from the team due to overdue payments for their engines from 2012 – Kaltenborn may be complaining about the V6’s, but Sauber’s financial problems date back for several years.

      2. Wolff’s figures may be correct for Mercedes – I understood that Mercedes engines were the cheapest on the grid by some margin, as he himself admits they used to be the most expensive and there are usually one-off costs in changing supplier (as Williams did in 2014). The problem is that the most expensive supplies are about €12m more per year if the figures given by the small teams are anything to go by…

    2. Well, the FIA mandated 1,600 cc turbos to be “green” and “technically relevant to road car development.”

      @paul-a It was the engine manufacturer’s more than the FIA who proposed the current engine formula.

      And often ignored is that both Renault & Mercedes said they would consider walking away from F1 unless we got the current formula because they (And other manufacturer’s) saw the old V8 formula & been outdated & irrelevant.

      Also worth remembering is that the cost of the old V8’s were capped which artificially lowered the amount the teams were paying for them. That cost cap also helped ensure no new manufacturer’s joined towards the tail end of the V8 era because the engine suppliers were making a substantial loss on each unit sold to teams.

      1. Cosworth left due to the new regulations (they could see in advance they would be too expensive), so that’s only a net gain of one manufacturer. The only new supplier gained was one that F1 lost shortly before the engine negotiations began, that only left because of the global recession (which from a Honda sales perspective was over before the engine regulations were settled upon with certainty). The new regulations simply haven’t made as much difference as hoped.

        1. @alianora-la-canta

          Cosworth left due to the new regulations

          Not totally true, Cosworth have had a V6 Turbo Hybrid that meets the current F1 regulations in the R&D process for a few years now. The reason Cosworth are not in F1 right now is because none of the teams wanted to partner with them.

          They recently expanded operations at its Northampton base, Got a grant from the UK government & hired Adam Parr (Who used to work at Williams) & are said to be working on putting together a package that is affordable for small teams (As they did with there V8).

          As to why no teams picked up a supply from Cosworth, There V8 wasn’t actually that good (Down on power, Used more fuel & was less drivable than the others) & none of the teams had any faith that there V6 would be any better.

    3. Has there been discussions about price capping the engines to the customer teams?
      Because in that way Mercedes would know how much they could make per engine deal, and the customer teams would have a predictable cost for engine deals.

      1. I was just thinking the same thing. Cap the cost of the engines to the customers. The manufacturers can spend whatever they want otherwise but with a fixed amount of return coming in, the incentive to overspend can be minimized relative to the other suppliers.

        Am I missing something there?

      2. There have been discussions. Enforcement has been cited as an issue, but to nowhere near the same extent as the same topic has been discussed in relation to whole-team expenditure.

  4. The simulated Honda sound is so much nicer than the live one I heard on Friday in Montreal!

    1. @mtlracer I believe in you, anyway isn’t this simulated lap really slow. I think Mclaren were simulating to be even slower in Silverstone.

    2. Friday Saturday Sunday. It sounded horrible, easy to tell that there wasn’t something quite right with it

    3. One of the things that struck my while at Silverstone apart from how different the cars look in real life appose to on TV, was just how bad the Honda engine sounds, especially on lift off but it’s even noticeable at full throttle. It has a sound of an engine that is eating itself. The Mercedes engine has the most consistent sound at full throttle and then another consistent sound on lift off, followed by Ferrari and then Renault closely behind, The Honda though while it sounds a little more grunty at some points overall it doesn’t sound good.

      1. So true, very noticeable in the run up the International Pit Straight into Abbey. From Club the Honda engine sounded atrocious.

        1. the Honda is only running on 3 cylinders when the driver lifts to save even more fuel,
          well that is what i read, but yes sounds like its only running on 3 period.

      2. I realized in Canada, Ferrari PU too makes an off sound (when it is off-throttle?-not sure). I didn’t hear the same noise in previous races though. But heard it in Silverstone again. Is something wrong with their upgraded PU? I heard they are also down on power at straights. And not because they increased the downforce.

  5. Jimi (@hendrix666)
    9th July 2015, 2:52

    Bottas to Ferrari, Button to Williams for final season. 2016. Thoughts? If I recall, Jenson began with Williams in 2000? I was at the Cdn GP that year in fact!

  6. If kimi is not in 2016 , can’t Stoffel use the #7 in 2017?

    1. @royalz Exactly what I was thinking!

    2. @royalz I don’t think so. He would have to wait another 2-3 years after Kimi’s retirement.

      1. @mashiat2 Is there any rule regarding that?

        1. I’m sure they can apply a grid penalty for it.

        2. Numbers are released if a driver does not compete in F1 for two complete, consecutive years. So if Kimi left F1 tomorrow to start a stunt-acting career or something, and never returned to F1, his number would become available at the start of 2018. It’s not clear if renewing one’s Superlicence is sufficient, or if they have to actually appear at a race at some point for the number to remain attached to the driver.

    3. SV: “I’d choose the number seven, but Kimi already has it.”
      I thought SV was Sebastian Vettel!

  7. @Jeff1s – great COTD

    Yes it will be a shame to see him go but would be great to go on his own terms and maybe keep some type of relationship with McLaren (a la Hakkinen) while maybe racing in WEC or even Indy (I know, not likely! but would be great)

    1. I think Button might just keep to Triathlon once he calls quits on his F1 career, although its possible he gets persuaded to do some sportscar racing. @fletchuk, @jeff1s

      But I agree that it would be good if he just kept the decision in his own hands and not wait for a McLaren verdict somewhere in December or Januari.

    2. Thanks @fletchuk, @bascb and @keithcollantine. It’s just I know (like many of you) JB since ’00 and I don’t wish him the end of F1 career some have got, without saying goodbye. Recent are Kobayashi, Trulli, Glock, Fisichella, Montoya…

      1. And off course Rubens Barrrichello (glad he got a bit of sunshine with Indycar though). Agree, sad to see an F1 career end that way

    3. I’m not actually sure what Mclaren gain from replacing Button at this stage, It’s not like he is slow, he is on the same pace as Alonso during the races which is surprising given Alonso’s reputation of being able to extract the most out of a car.

      Surely it would be better to keep somebody with the knowledge level and the ability Button has in order to help develop the car in the team. He knows the team very well, he knows the characteristics of a Mclaren car better than anybody else, not to mention he has a great relationship with the Japanese, which must come in handy at this stage.

      Having said that whatever the team decides to do – Button should be treated with the respect he has earn throughout his career and not a repeat of last year where I think Mclaren acted poorly, I mean not confirming to a driver that it could of been his last GP in F1 was a poor showing from Mclaren.

      1. Definitely agree, he needs to be shown some respect this time, I’m sure he’s not driving this terrible car only to be dropped next season for his troubles. It just comes down to whether Mclaren believe they need to pay more for drivers when it’s obviously not making much of a difference. If they think next year is going to be more of the same, then it’s really only logical, and very unfortunate. And if that’s looking like the case, I hope he realises it, and isn’t as stubborn as someone like Rubens. Who I heard was talking to Caterham while their blown-off upper torso was scrabbling across the ground in the final races.

        1. Well if that’s the case then they should think about letting Alonso go. Button doesn’t really look slower than him, and he costs way way less.

  8. Lack of development by regulation is a budget cap of sorts. Allowing more development could improve the racing but will surely increase costs.

    If smaller teams had a more fair share of prize money they would have more funds to further develop their cars and compete, if more development was allowed in the regs. If all teams had a larger share of the profits there could be more development and likely better racing thereby improving the show and potentially increasing overall revenues and profit in F1.

    In this regard F1 has worked itself into a vicious cycle.

    Going away from the higher tech hybrid power units and regressing backwards to lower tech more simple engines could be more cost effective. But then Merc and Renault may leave F1. Hard to run a sport like F1 with so many variables, no central control, very limited consensus and inequitable distribution of funds that end up hurting the entire sport. So, what is the right answer?

    Having said all that I still find F1 to be a highly fascinating sport and spectacle with many parts functioning as well as they do. The dynamics, the technology, the competition and the personalities still make it worthwhile even if it’s not everything it could be.

    But really, what in life is completely perfect in every way all the time? Our expectations of all aspects of our lives is pretty high and it should be. How else can we make things better?

    Some things are easier to change than others. An interesting and impossible task would be to demonstrate the decision making process for regulations in Formula 1 as a Logic Equation. Let’s see an infographic for that!

    How much better can F1 be without prohibitive costs and with a consensus? Is this even possible?

    1. I don’t think that going back to the old engines would be cheaper by much @bullmello. The big cost was the initial development and that has been spent already, (I saw an estimate that the “hardware” cost of the engines could be as low as 1,5-1,6 million, the rest being SW and servicing, as well as getting back part of the development cost) I think that is also why Toto and Arrivabene are willing to talk (not sure about Renault though, even if they did state that in future years cost would sink) about a cost cap, because ditching the new engines would mean a complete write off of those costs already made.

      But yes, if the money was divided more reasonably – say max 10-15% for the promoter, provided they start promoting, and at least 40-60 million for every team to be able to take part and then lowering the fees asked from tracks to allow those to invest too – it would be far less of an issue.

      1. @bascb – The individual engine building costs would be way lower, but you are correct that any change has more costs involved.

  9. Has a single Mercedes or Ferrari engine failed yet this year?

    1. Hulkenberg’s engine at least @selbbin, and didn’t Ferrari change engines once out of precaution?

      1. @bosyber Hulkenberg’s failure wasn’t actually his engine it was his gearbox if i remember correctly.

    2. Ferrari discovered cracks in one engine block. Nico H. experienced engine failure as well. That makes it two according to my info.

  10. If Bottas goes to Ferrari, then Williams may look to Hulk, either way, both Williams and FI should have a slot for Button or Hulk, i think Button still is a better driver than most out there.

  11. lockup (@)
    9th July 2015, 7:46

    I have a lot of time for Fernando and what he has to say but this is nonsense. It’s not tokens that are holding Honda back it’s the effectiveness of their organisation. If you opened up development Merc would probably be even further ahead.

    Likewise Merc’s aero is better than the others’, and to the extent they are all forced to be similar then that means closer racing.

    Not that I blame Alonso for saying pretty much anything at this point. If we only Bernie could force Merc to swap him with Rosberg…

    1. Who says he would do better than Rosberg…

  12. http://m.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/119897

    I don’t like the look of this story. F1 is defined by the brilliance of the drivers that compete within it, and in that definition F1 simply cannot allow itself to miss the apparently magical talent of Stoffel Vandoorne. McLaren must promote him a race seat: his junior career has been every bit as impressive as Hamilton’s, and there is no reason to suggest he cannot be every bit as impressive in F1. Stoffel finished runner-up in two consecutive rookie campaigns in both of F1’s premiere class categories (FR3.5 and GP2): when single seater racing is becoming increasingly experience dependent that is unprecedented.

    He is also not Robin Frijns, who naively refused Red Bull backing midway through his triumphant 3.5 campaign, only to see his Dutch sponsors withdraw when they realised they couldn’t support Sauber to the extent required. If the Belgian is sat at home next year (with champions refused entry to GP2, I think we can be fairly confident that if Stoffel is racing next year, it will be in an F1 car) he can only conclude that he couldn’t have done any more. He has delivered, it is now time for McLaren to deliver.

    With Magnussen ruled out of a return, and with Jenson’s career thoroughly in its autumnal phases, I do not see what is stopping McLaren from announcing the logical. In spite of excellent performances in 2015 and in the later stages of 2014, it was acknowledged that Button’s clout with the sponsors was a salient factor in the decision not to retain Kevin. In this instance though, McLaren should accept the fact that new blood is needed, and should enthusiastically promote a real Hamilton-grade talent to the race seat he deserves. If they don’t, Stoffel would be well advised to endear himself to Ferrari…

    1. Are you sure Magnussen is rueld out of a return though @countrygent? Would be interesting to have Alonso again paired with a promising rookie … I would like to see Stoffel on the grid too. Maybe if Hulk goes to Ferrari we can have Stoffel in a FI (which might even be going faster than a McLaren even in 2016?)

      I understood that it was largely the two middle eastern holders of 75% of the stocks that voted to keep Button in the team, overruling the operative team and Ron who wanted to keep Magnussen, although I would think that Button is better with the sponsors, and should be a bonus for Honda too.

      1. @bascb – In a meeting with Danish businesses some months ago, Ron said he wanted to see Kevin in F1 but claimed that it would have to be with another team. In the increasingly feasible eventuality that Hulkenberg goes to Ferrari, I think Mercedes will be quite insistent that he should be replaced by Esteban Ocon, who tested for the team in Austria. If Vandoorne does end up as an F1 driver, it will be with McLaren. But with one driver in his sixteenth season, and becomingly exasperated by Honda’s woes, that is not a problem, right?

        Wrong. It was apparently McLaren sponsors Santander and Johnnie Walker that blocked JB’s exit twelve months ago. I have not heard the story about the Middle-Eastern investors, but yes, I do know that Kevin had a strong faction of support inside the team (Ron was a fan). However it is a measurable fact that McLaren are going to need new blood sooner rather than later, and they have a fantastically talented young driver who is ready and waiting. Get on with it…

        1. Thanks for the detailed answer there @countrygent. I think that if there is a hope of McLaren being in with a chance of winning something next year, Button will be tempted to (want to) stay on to get some reward for this years hardship.
          But yes, McLaren could do with a fresh line-up for the future. Afterall, even if they do win a championship in the next 2 years (with Alonso) how long would Alonso want to continue. And if they don’t win, i can’t see Fernando being overly patient for that long either.

    2. McLaren badly needs a B-team, not only for younger drivers, but for some extra engine mileage as well.

      In this case, there is a good chance that drivers through McLaren youth program could go to Red Bull or Ferrari, especially the former, as it will probably have 2 seats next year (one in Sauber and one in Haas).

    3. If Mclaren doesn’t give him a seat then there is no way Ferrari will. Ferrari only take very experience drivers.
      What Mclaren should do to please everyone is simple. Keep Button for another year and honor the option for a two year deal.
      Put Magnussen in another team so they can give him a chance to show if he has more to offer than what he first showed and keep Vandoome as a third driver while giving him a practice session etc.
      That kind of practice preparation was used by Force India and Williams and it seems to be from the most effective on preparing a driver for an F1 season.
      Then throw Vandoorne in the car in 2017 after Button leaves.

  13. Disagree 100 percent with the COTD. Some fans seem to be preoccupied with useless PR terms such as “public image” and “legacy” forgetting that these are drivers who have been driving since childhood and their real pleasure, real thing that turns them on is the sensation of driving an F1 car. They don’t care if some fans like @Jeff1s are worried about them being “pushed” or some kind of other PR stuff. They have to do PR stuff, yes, but it’s def. not the thing that drives them on

    JB, while I’ve never been a fan, is still a top class driver. He should retire when he wants to retire. If Mclaren don’t retain him(they’d be stupid not to, especially given the development level they require for, and in 2016, but Mclaren can be quite stupid these days), and he still wants to be in F1, he should talk with other teams

    I mean JB is what, 35? That’s nothing. Schumacher was every bit as dominant as ever when he was 35 in 2004. As Brundle said last year before JB was retained “if JB does retire there will be drivers on the grid who couldn’t hold a candle to him”. It’s valid now too

    To sum it up: if your opinion is that should Button not be retained and has to announce forced retirement in December he will lose dignity, then that’s precisely that: your opinion. I don’t agree with it as I’m sure many others

    1. Complete agree. I doubt Button has any problem finding a team that will want him though. He just has to understand that other teams may very well not be in the position to pay big salaries and not be caught on the “i’m a world champion and it will be humiliating getting paid so low etc”.
      That is just pricing himself out of F1.

  14. Suggestion for Valtteri Bottas: Don’t announce where you’re going to attack your teammate on the radio…
    Massa’s pit crew warned him about it straight away, according to the transcript:

    OK Felipe so Valtteri is going to try and attack you on the back straight, he will try and attack you with DRS.

    It was the obvious place to try (while losing minimal time for both cars) but he could have been a bit smarter.
    I just hope they find themselves leading again this year – there aren’t too many tracks like Silverstone.

    1. My suggestion to Valtteri would be: don´t announce that you have more pace if, given the green light, you fail to deliver. And then: don´t rot the environment inside the team suggesting that you are right and everybody else is wrong.

      1. He said he was 1 sec/lap was faster than Massa. Sounds so ridiculous… How many seconds Massa was faster than him in the end?
        I don’t really think Williams car is that bad in wet btw. Massa is not particularly good in wet. But Bottas was outrageous.

        1. His in-lap was 1.3s faster than Massa for the first pit stops. So he had the speed on mediums.

  15. I do agree that the money being spent in F1 is too high. But I think that what is often overlooked is that this is money which is spent entirely voluntarily, and as such the big teams need to acknowledge their responsibility. Is it expensive to build and run two F1 cars for a season? Undoubtedly! But fundamentally that cost is no higher for Mercedes than it is for Manor (figuratively – I appreciate Manor’s current situation is a little unusual). The big difference in spend is down to development. But this is where it gets a bit confusing.

    F1 budgets are as high now as they ever have been for the top teams. Not massively higher than they have been, but still, not significantly lower either. Which is odd when you think about it, considering we now have virtually no testing, and teams are restricted both in terms of windtunnel/CFD, and in terms of the number of parts they can use throughout a season. You’d expect that they would be spending a heck of a lot less than they used to when they had unrestricted testing, and engines which might do a single race before being melted down for scrap.

    The answer of course is fairly simple – the restricting factor on budgets is simply how much the top teams have available to them to spend. They may not be able to spend that money pounding round Silverstone or Fiorano evaluating hundreds of development parts, but they still spend it in other ways chasing incrementally diminishing returns. Broadly speaking, the top team spends as much as it takes to win, and the rest of the field spends as much as it can to try and catch them. The problem really being in the nature of these diminishing returns – actually track testing and windtunnel testing are very cost effective ways of making big gains, whereas without these resources, the amount of money required to make big gains is exponentially higher than it used to be. Hence why in the past, teams with very limited budgets could still sometimes come up with good solutions during testing which kept them up in the midfield, whereas now it’s almost impossible for a team with limited resources to keep pace.

    A budget cap then may seem like the ideal solution. But it is a fundamentally unworkable solution because different teams have their businesses structured completely differently. If a team owns a windtunnel, then it’s much cheaper for them to use their own windtunnel compared to a team which needs to rent one. Do you then mandate a set cost for windtunnel time as a flat fee for all teams? Restrict them all to using the same windtunnel (after all, some are better than others). And what about personnel costs. The most generous budget cap would surely make it impossible for drivers to command the kind of salary that Hamilton enjoys. And the same would be true of designers. How much of the capped budget would a team be allowed to spend on a top designer like Newey? Teams would find their way around it – because teams don’t exist in commercial isolation. So a team like Mercedes could employ a top designer through the mother company and then simply subcontract the designer’s services for a nominal fee to the F1 team. Something an indy team would never be able to do.

    It’s a lovely idea in principle. But teams would always find inventive ways of getting around it, and the teams without the additional resource above and beyond the cap would still be in the same situation.

    The real issue is not really one of expenditure. The real issue is one of generating a budget in the first place. While the costs for the teams at the sharp end are as astronomical as ever, the teams at the back are struggling to scrape together the money they need purely to show up. There are no longer any low cost engineering solutions available to them – no Cosworth, Judd, Mechachrome… they have to pay the premium price for the premium bespoke solutions – solutions which exist only in F1 and require enormous development costs to design. And most worryingly, there are no sponsors. Gone are the days when companies would spend tens or even hundreds of millions to be associated with the sport. Not because they don’t have the money to do it – there are plenty of other sports into which companies are chucking just as much money, they are simply choosing not to be associated with F1 any more.

    To round up this long rambling post, I think that cost caps are impossible. The restrictions on development don’t drive down costs, they merely stifle innovation. The real issues are that, firstly, the top teams spend so much (and will continue to spend as much regardless) and that F1 has become such a commercially toxic entity that hardly anybody is prepared to throw money at it any more.

  16. Who would have thought Montoya would be such a sensible guy!
    – Mentions improving the experience by taking away sensor info for competitive sessions
    – Upping speed is suddenly a worry after 10 years, just because someone started saying the cars are slow (they are not), and increasing speed is unlikely to make racing better because it magnifies problems for following cars
    – the Engine formula is great, but its a miss that no one went to the effort of showing it to the fans

    1. I couldn’t agree with him more. He said some of the most sensible things I’ve heard on F1. The points he made along with his suggestions are so great I cannot believe this.

  17. That McLaren simulator isn’t very accurate, he completed a lap without engine failure

  18. Alonso: Lack of development makes racing boring

    This comes from the same dude that few days ago suggested that those who don´t like today’s F1 must change the TV channel…

  19. Bottas’ statement is very extreme.

Comments are closed.