Guenther Steiner, Silverstone, 2019

Introducing standard parts “doesn’t make sense” once F1 has budget cap – Steiner

2021 F1 season

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has questioned the need for Formula 1 to introduce standard parts in 2021 when the sport will have a budget cap in place.

Under the planned rules changes for 2021, some standard parts will be introduced to save money. But Steiner warned this means “changing the DNA of Formula One, which is about developing your own car.”

The budget cap makes introduced standard parts unnecessary, Steiner argued. “I think as long as we have a cost cap like the one proposed now going into 2021, standardisation doesn’t really make sense. Everybody should be free to spend their money where they want.

“If we have some standard parts where we level the playing field, like pit equipment, that’s OK. But on the car, the DNA of Formula One means your own development.

“We are well under the budget cap being proposed, so I don’t know if it’s really a money-saver in the end. It hasn’t been defined what will be standardised parts. It’s maybe too early to talk about it or be critical about it. We have to wait a little bit until we know exactly what the aim is.”

Haas currently sources some of its parts from Dallara and rivals Ferrari. Steiner said teams must be satisfied that any other suppliers the sport uses must be up to the same standard.

“If the series mandates certain parts, for sure they’ll have done their due diligence, and it should be in accordance with the teams so that they are all happy. I can live with that.

“If they just go to some suppliers, and if we feel they cannot do the job, we should have a say in it. The 10 teams know more about building a car than all the other authorities.”

Steiner prefers the budget cap as a means of bringing down costs. “I think a budget cap should do the job,” he said. “Everybody’s free to spend their money where they want to spend it. If somebody spends the money in a better way, good for them. They’ll be faster. That’s part of running a Formula 1 team.”

Discover the latest developments in the planned rules changes for 2021 in @DieterRencken’s RacingLines column on Wednesday on RaceFans.

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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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  • 15 comments on “Introducing standard parts “doesn’t make sense” once F1 has budget cap – Steiner”

    1. Of all people, Steiner says this?

      1. Exactly.
        To even talk about DNA of the sport when his team supposedly has destroyed the concept of what an F1 team is.
        But I do agree with allowing teams to spend their money how they like.
        If a team wants to spend 70% of their funds on a wheel nut, by all means feel free.

        1. when his team supposedly has destroyed the concept of what an F1 team is.

          Um, they’re within FIA regs, so direct your ire at the FIA.

          Just as F1 has often been defined by the smartest engineers cleverly identifying and exploiting loopholes in the technical regs, Haas have maximized the sporting regulations.

        2. What do you guys mean? Remember the kit cars of the 70’s or the blue Benettons? How is Haas doing anything that hasn’t been done for the whole history of F1?

      2. Nobody talks about this anymore because they are struggling this year.

    2. “If we have some standard parts where we level the playing field, like pit equipment, that’s OK. But on the car, the DNA of Formula One means your own development.

      I agree with this. Keep the development focused on the car.

      But Steiner might wish to clarify where he stands on non-listed parts under a budget cap. On a scale of standard parts to bespoke/listed parts, non-listed parts straddles that grey middle ground.

      Steiner said teams must be satisfied that any other suppliers the sport uses must be up to the same standard.

      I don’t think we’ve had any concerns about McLaren’s ECUs, the fuel flow meter, and the halo, so I think the FIA’s process is adequate (in terms of consistency/standard, not performance*). Yes, Red Bull threw a bit of a hissy fit about the fuel flow at the start of 2014, but I wonder if that was more of posturing at their disqualification than any serious failures.

      * Added that since Pirelli comes to mind :)

      1. I think that RB posturing in 2014 was a lot about masking how they had tried to “game” the system by buying more sensors and sorting out the ones with a slight error in the positive @phylyp

    3. The aspect that doesn’t get discussed is the cost to the teams of adapting to the “standardized parts”.
      Gear box internals come to mind as the recent attempt to make these parts common across all the cars was (as I understand it) dropped because of the cost to revise what they already had. I am sure there were other reasons too.
      A bunch of years ago when switching from the V-10s to the V-8s, Flavio B. commented that the V-8 was stupidly expensive to manufacture and they should have stayed with the V-10 and saved a bundle. Seems he was a principal in Supertec and Mecachrome so he might be right.
      Have to agree with Steiner and he probably knows a thing or two about cost control too.

      1. @rekibsn, Supertec was really just more of an agency that handled deals between Mechachrome, which assembled, and I believe still does to this day, the engines that Renault Sport designs for their motorsport operations, and the teams which wanted to continue using the RS9 engine.

        There probably was an element of Briatore wanting to protect the investment that Renault had made in their V10, since it was a pretty competitive power unit in the latter part of the V10 era (after the switch from the earlier wide angle engine, which had been a failure).

        That said, it is true that, whilst the switch to the V8 engines might have achieved the goal the FIA had, which was to slow the cars down, it did so at an extremely high cost. The idea was for teams to effectively cut two cylinders off the engines to convert them from the V10 to V8 designs, but in practise that didn’t happen – most teams started from scratch again with the new V8’s.

        Development costs did really balloon in that era, and even during the period that was supposed to have been a “development freeze”, spending was still very high as changes on “reliability grounds” were still permitted – which, naturally, meant teams were accused of abusing that by introducing reliability fixes that – purely coincidentally of course – just also happened to increase the power output of the engines as a side effect.

        Remi Taffin did give an interview during the V8 era that revealed Renault were still spending around €120 million a year on their V8 engine programme, even when they were supposed to be development limited – those savings that were meant to occur never really did occur in the end.

    4. I fully support Mr.Guenther Steiner in this. There is no need for many standard parts if they have a budget cap in place. The variety is Always more interesting to watch. In every sense. Even with the tracks – for example, Mexican GP and its high altitude, Monaco street circuit, Monza etc.

    5. Hmmm, just a few thoughts. From what I gathered, the standardized parts would be the low hanging fruit, the ones that we cannot see nor that would make a difference to the performance of the cars. I don’t expect them to standardize things that the teams should have free reign to design on their own and which might differentiate the cars and give teams a chance to put their twist in the plot.

      And if Steiner is not at the cap level anyway, then he should be happy the teams that have more money will have the same parts where those apply to standardization. Brawn has only spoken about not disrupting the DNA of F1 and knows well that there is a line the teams will draw if he even tried to make it a spec series. The concept of F1 becoming a spec series has only been floated by paranoid fans that I am aware of.

      Also, many are suspicious that the big teams particularly will find ways to continue to spend beyond the cap but hide it. I don’t share that same suspicion, not because I think the teams are angels, but because I think the teams are collectively quite a bit on board with the concept that F1 as it is is not sustainable and they need to all make an effort to make the whole entity better on several fronts. So in spite of cost caps starting in 2021, it doesn’t hurt imho to have some ‘forced’ savings as well, in the name of certain standardized parts.

    6. But on the car, the DNA of Formula One means your own development.

      Or as much as you can buy from Ferrari, you mean.

      We are well under the budget cap being proposed, so I don’t know if it’s really a money-saver in the end

      Because you don’t develop a large part of your own race car Guenther.

      1. Exactly. Which is also why they don’t understand large parts of their car they didn’t develop.

    7. I agree.

      For those that think standardisation of non performance parts is OK, find me an engineer that can tell us any part on a car that is not performance related and you’ll probably find another that will say they they can make a performance difference on the same part. Look at mirrors now. A few years ago they wouldn’t have been considered a performance related part (and according to the rules shouldn’t be) – how much have they developed and how different were/are they now.

      The budget cap if set correctly and the teams designers and engineeers should be controlling where money gets spent on their car.

    8. I still think that if they introduce a budget cap they should allow more freedom on the design & technical side rather than restricting it further with spec parts or regulations so restrictive that they may as well be spec.

      I know that the argument is that you can’t see things like fuel pumps, Gearbox internals, pedals, shocks etc… But I still feel that teams should be free to design these parts if they wish or buy them from whatever supplier they wish to to best suit there package or driver preference.

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