Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Hockenheimring, 2019

Teams split over need for fourth engine if 2020 calendar reaches 22 races

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams are divided over whether the maximum number of engines per driver should increase from three to four if the schedule expands to 22 races next year.

The teams were contacted individually by F1 CEO Chase Carey ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix to give their views on whether they would support a 22-race 2020 F1 calendar.

F1’s sporting regulations currently stipulate a maximum of 21 races. They also set a limit of three power units per dry. Unlike in past seasons, there is no mechanism for the number of power units to increase if the calendar is expanded. Therefore the agreement of the teams is needed to extend the calendar and increase the number of engines.

However not all teams are prepared to accept the increased cost of running four engines per driver each year. Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he is “OK with” extending the calendar but does not support introducing a fourth engine.

“We need to keep it to three engines because if you introduce a fourth engine it doesn’t make sense financially for us. Actually it is negative for us, so why would we do that?

“I think that is down to the engine manufacturers to say yes or no. If they are confident that we can do it with three engines then I’m fine with it.”

But Red Bull team principal Christian Horner pointed out many teams already use more than three engines across the current 21 races, and a reduction in testing could allow for an increase in the allocation.

“Introducing another race on top of that and expecting teams to get through on just three sets of components is a bit of a tall ask,” he said in today’s FIA press conference.

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“Whether we support it, I think in principle ‘yes’ is the answer but it has to be combined with what other activities are going on, in terms of do we need as much in-season testing as we currently do.

“Do we need to do as much pre-season testing? I think if we are to introduce a 22nd race, the majority teams are taking penalties and using four engines anyway, one would assume it would make sense to increase the allocation on power units and components.”

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says the increased strain a 22nd race would put on the teams’ staff should also be considered.

“In principle we support the direction of going to 22 races for next year. There’s discussion on going at the moment what that means in terms of the number of components to be used and also the costs for a team like us.

“I think if you look at the bigger picture for us it’s simply important for us now also to be careful not to increase the number of races even further, for two reasons really. First of all I think we really need to look after our people and make sure we don’t also put too much there. Because I think if we go up to the next step of even more races we have to change something inside our organisations, for our team. And then that’s pretty much it.

“The second point of course we understand we have the commercial point of view but I think it is important that we somehow keep this exclusivity for each of the events which doesn’t necessarily get better by adding more and more races.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 18 comments on “Teams split over need for fourth engine if 2020 calendar reaches 22 races”

    1. I have been following F1 for almost 30 years and I firmly believe that 22 races per season is the the best number. I miss F1 very much in the spring, so I think that December/January/February is enough for a winter break in F1. Of course summer break in August must remain too. How about making last F1 tests already in Australia right before the 1st GP race of the season in the early March? That would help the teams to save some money too. The end of the season should be on November 29.

      1. jamesluke2488
        2nd August 2019, 14:25

        On your point regarding testing

        1. The teams like Spain because its close to the factory and they can ship out new parts quickly, as testing obviously requires alot of development with input coming direct from the factory

        2. The Australian track is a street circuit and wouldn’t provide a good benchmark for testing, as Barcelona is a better representation of what a majority of the tracks on the calendar are, the teams would again prefer Barcelona

        1. Yes, you are right. So, then my advice is to make part of Barcelona tests during the season, right before Barcelona GP (in early May). Every F1 loves when more than just 1 driver and 1 team is winning (no matter if it was Schumacher with Ferrari or Vettel with Red Bull or Hamilton with Mercedes), so in this case the start of season could be a bit more unpredictable and only after Barcelona GP true “power ranking” could be finalised. F1 must listen to the teams’ wishes, but also must listen to F1 viewers’ wishes and make the best solution for both parties.

          1. Why not merge the pre-season test with the Spanish GP.
            Run 7 days of tests over 2 weeks and the last day run a quali and race.
            How good would that be? Weather, reliability, underdeveloped cars, etc.

            1. That’s an interesting idea. Although Australians are now used to open F1 season so I think that they may not like this idea that much. But I have nothing against this idea. It is easy to determine the best dates for the end of F1 season (final week of November), because December is the start of wintersport season and preparing for Christmas etc. In February we have Winter Olympics every 4 years and it’s the end of annual wintersport season. If F1 Barcelona tests take place in the final week of February then why not start F1 season at the end of 1st week of March. Weather in Barcelona in early March is the only thing that must be “checked” in this situation.

      2. @bulgarian The current number (which BTW, is only one fever than your suggestion) is already more than perfectly fine, so no need to change that just for the sake of adding.

        1. The big problem in “modern” F1 is the fact that top3 teams are perfectly prepared for each GP. They have enough time, enough money, enough knowledge etc. The more GPs we have the higher the risk that some odd result will bring happiness into the faces of people from smaller teams. I was very very happy for Toro Rosso in German GP. Did you see how they celebrated? Like they just have won a World Championship. It was a pure pleasure to watch this joy.

      3. @Bulgarian Yes. Why F1 need a break on holidays? New Year and Summer is the right time to gain more fans to attend races. Put the best race at Christmas Night like EPL.

    2. At the moment it seems that Silverstone and Monza is given a green light for 2020 season (Thank God!) and Barcelona has got its government support, so Barcelona should stay too. So, that final and 22nd spot will be decided between Germany and Mexico. I like both of them although for different reasons. There must still be a chance for both of them to prove they can stage a race in 2020.

      1. If only we could have both Germany and Mexico instead of Spain. Both of those tracks produce often great races, while Barcelona rarely does.

        Barcelona is only great for winter testing and because of that, every time the teams visit the track in May, they have all the data for optimal setup, before they even set foot on the track. Plus it’s generaly hard to overtake there, it never rains (just to spice up a bit the race) and with 90% certainty we end up with a effortless Mercedes 1-2 every year.

        Both Germany and Mexico, although they have butchered their layouts, they are easier to overtake than Spain and because of Germany’s random summer weather and Mexico’s high altitude, they bring an uncertainty factor in the mix that we desperately need.

        1. Yes, it is sad that either German or Mexican GP (hopefully not both) will not feature in 2020 calendar. Mexico’s high altitude is exactly the challenge F1 top3 teams need and the Stadium section (turns 13-14, I think) always allows to feel the great atmosphere among fans there. Hockenheim GP with its gravel traps in rainy weather is a perfect venue for F1.

    3. What exactly is the need to be so limiting with engine allocations? Is it purely for costs or is there another reason?

      It’s a shame teams have to save engines and get big penalties late in the season for using parts outside of their allocation

    4. As I discussed with some other people on twitter (who I know/follow due to shared F1 interest): I can accept 22 races for a season, but I really would most likely be very happy with a return to 16-18 races, with especially the lower end making it easier to fit into my family schedule, and therefore every race once again being something to look forward to, more than it also being a drag bc. family is understanding but not happy to only share a maximum of half of the weekends with me. So I am glad that more fundamental point got brought up too.

      1. Family is the most important thing in the life, so this is how I cope with watching many races with my family. We all visit 1 or 2 GPs per season (usually European races like Monza, Silverstone, Monaco, Sochi, Budapest). Everybody loves excursions in or around these towns during this holiday week or 2 weeks and getting F1 drivers autographs always is a big adventure for my kids. During warm weather season (April-October) we all watch F1 qualifying and races in our summer house garden. We are together all-day and F1 takes just a couple of hours. I prefer 22 races per season, because top3 teams will always fight until the end of the each season (for GP wins, for higher place in the Constructor’s championship etc.), but other teams will be able to prepare themselves for the start of the next year and first 4-5 races of a new season could bring unexpected podium finishes for drivers who deserve to step on the podium at least once in a lifetime (Hulkenberg, Sainz etc.).

      2. family is understanding but not happy to only share a maximum of half of the weekends with me.

        I solved all thatrecently without going to the extreme of a divorce, @bosyber.
        I delay/stream most qualies/races and fit it in with my social/family life.

        1. I found that when I am unable to watch live, I rarely watch the full race @coldfly
          @bulgarian – yes, that works to some extent (though both last year and this year I was unable to do so, due to personal time constraints), but as unreasonable as it seems, it doesn’t actually diminish my wife’s sadness at having a semi-spontaneous ‘did you see that thing, let us go there this weekend’ to be interrupted by ‘hm, yeah, I guess, though F1’ :)

          1. I totally understand you, bosyber! It was similar in my family some 15-20 years ago, but we found the way. As soon as I know precise dates of a new F1 season I wrote them in our planner/calendar with a red ink. In fact, I wrote there at least one or two other sporting activities during the year, but that gives my wife an opportunity to plan a time for her own and our activities outside F1. Even our kids sometimes write their wishes in the empty pages of the planner/calendar and we have to respect that.

    5. If all races were held at a single venue, I’m very sure barring any engine restrictions, the teams can do 40 races a season. But the Human and Material costs associated with F1 events is huge, and I can imagine the amount of stress the team personnel will be under from all the flights, setting up and packing up, different time zones, long time away from family or familiar surroundings.
      We may very well have their families moving around in caravans just to maintain a semblance of family life, the now new F1 Nomads.

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