Horner unimpressed with “weak” 2017 engine deal

2017 F1 season

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Christian Horner has described Formula One’s new engine deal for 2017 to 2020 as a “weak agreement” while manufacturer representatives back the rules change.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference Horner said insufficient progress had been made on the key areas addressed by the new rules, which were signed off last month.

“It is a little underwhelming,” said the Red Bull team principal. “It’s a very soft agreement between the manufacturers and the FIA.”

“It tickles the price, deals a little bit with [performance] convergence, the obligation to supply doesn’t really apply. So it’s a very weak agreement. Unfortunately, it’s a shame that more couldn’t be done but I suppose if you look on the bright side it’s better than nothing.”

However Cyril Abiteboul of Red Bull’s engine supplier Renault praised the passing of stable engine regulations for the next four seasons.

“I think what’s good is to have a clear understanding of what’s coming up for the next few years,” he said. “We all know that stability is important, we have agreed for some stability to 2020.”

Customer teams will pay €12 million for 2018 power units
Power unit prices will be fixed at €12 million in 2018, a reduction of €3 million, according to the FIA. “We have also agreed for price reduction to customer teams, that’s clear, that’s agreed,” said Abiteboul.

“There is also a clear target to get the performance to converge because we all believe it’s important for Formula One. We believe it’s happening anyway but there is this clear target – it cannot be a guarantee because no one can guarantee performance. You can’t guarantee performance in a wind tunnel, same thing with engine.

“But we all know what we have to do. So I think it’s good, it’s a relief, because we know what we have to do and we can make plans for the future.”

Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff also supported the new regulations.

“We have achieved a major price reductions over two years,” he said. “We have opened up development scope for others to catch up. We have designed an obligation to supply so no team runs out of an engine contract. We have found a mechanism how performance convergence could be triggered.”

“Lots of good things, many months of hard working and trying to bring everybody on the same page. I think it’s a good step forward.”

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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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14 comments on “Horner unimpressed with “weak” 2017 engine deal”

  1. I don’t think appropriate weight is placed on Horner’s comment of “it’s better than nothing.”

    If I remember correctly Horner was saying if no agreement could be reached then that would have given Ecclestone free reign to bring in a “customer” engine supplier to give to the backmarkers? Essentially making it a 2 tier championship? Anyway, glad that is not the case and the FIA + manufacturers could come to some agreement.

    1. The problem I see is Horner is blaming the manufacturers for Renault not having the best engine on the grid, but part of the blame has to lie with the FIA, who made the rules that guaranteed that whoever lagged behind at the start of this engine spec would continue to lag behind in subsequent seasons.
      Fixing the price could easily lead to a similar situation, because it means a manufacturer has less income from the engines, so would have to reduce their research budget, so those that lag behind would take longer to catch those at the front of the grid.

  2. Horner is back. When the whining starts in the article headline, you know Christian is back in his element.

    1. knoxploration
      13th May 2016, 17:05

      I know, right? It’s almost as bad as the constant whining about Horner.

      1. You’re right. Let’s see if we can make it an article headline in true Horner fashion (grumpy emoticon)

    2. It’s curious, as though his job is to pull off the trick of winning races while at the same time making the drink itself less popular.

  3. I couldn’t resist spotting the lovely typo in the fourth paragraph
    “It tickles the price . . .”
    Maybe ‘tackles’ would be better, but I love the idea of a weak agreement tickling something!

    1. Horner did say ‘tickling the price’ in the press conference…

      I will say though that the 4 engine manufactures were represented by the respective team bosses (with a Honda representative rather than RD or EB), then you had Bob Fearnley representing Force India and Horner for Red Bull… Only Horner spoke out, where as Bob Fearnley decided to ‘Reserve his response for the time being’…

  4. If Red Bull are unhappy you know something has been done right.
    It’s called MOTORsport people not Aerosport.

    1. it’s called gaming the system, changing the ‘rules’ to disadvantage the competition. I think instead of sprinklers, we should just bring out some lions and feed drivers like Kvyat to them when they ruin the spectacle.

      1. As a Kvyat fan, I got a good belly laugh out of that, thanks!

  5. Does anyone really think the FIA will let RBR beat the engine manufacturers again? I don’t. I am willing to bet Ferrari and Mercedes won’t let it either.

    Now with RBR out of the picture, Mercedes are free to decide who wins, assuming Nico doesn’t have any real competition. Enjoy the show. I am sure Nico and Toto going on and on about Ferrari’s challenge will eventually come true, I mean, people have to stop crashing in to the golden boy eventually.

    1. @xsavior To be honest, its down to RB finding an engine supplier that can produce a competitive PU and work with RB as a works team. They need to avoid brain fade decisions like Mclaren made by getting Honda on board, and to be patient when they do have a partner working with them exclusively.

      If I was Mateschitz, I would have fired Horner by now. He made the biggest blunder possible in 2014 by ruining relationships with Renault while not having a competitive PU secured. Renault is a company that can turn a situation around, and I wouldn’t be surprised if their PU is more competitive in 2017 than the Ferrari PU. Red Bull could be in the title hunt in 2017 if they worked constructively with Renault since 2015, but instead they plotted their own demise. It really is a disaster for them because of this complex PU formula, it will be impossible for a new engine supplier to enter the sport before 2020.

      1. @todfod
        Don’t matter who Mateschitz hires or fires what ever comes out of Horners mouth is a much more toned down version of what came out of Mateschitz and Marko’s gob, Horner is a puppet imo. If Mateschitz has not learned any humility in the past 2 seasons i wouldn’t be surprised

        Btw don’t Toyota and the VW family (Porsche, Audi) know how to build hybrids or these engines? They said they won’t enter because rules aren’t stable and i bet thats the reason for many other manufactures not entering joining F1, not because of the complexity of the engines, thats a excuse used by Bernie he got some agenda, no-one was joing F1 in the V8 era except teams that couldn’t fund themselves and it’s the FIA and teams fault for implementing the token system that they ALL agreed on for this current formula.

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