Standard engine about control of F1, says Force India

Force India believes the FIA's push to reduce engine costs in Formula 1 is part of a wider power battle for control of the sport.

FIA president Jean Todt and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone want a standard engine introduced in 2017 that will allow independent teams access to a cheap power unit.

Their plans are being met with resistance from manufacturers, however, who think that the sport will not benefit from having different types of engines competing against each other.

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley thinks that the issues go far behind just power unit supply though – as the outcome could have big implications in terms of the running of the sport.

"I think the issues at the moment are about a certain amount of power control between the manufacturers and the FIA/commercial rights holder," Fernley told Motorsport.com. "We are passengers to that."

Manufacturer control

The issues that Red Bull have faced this year in trying to get engines has shown how manufacturers have such a decisive grip in terms of what happens on the grid.

And Fernley thinks the fact that Mercedes and Ferrari resisted Red Bull's overtures has highlighted why Todt and Ecclestone need to do more to help the independent teams.

"We need a better distribution of income, which is what we have been asking for, and we need cost control," he said. "It doesn't have to be one or the other.

"But we need to do it, otherwise we will end up in a situation where we move to a manufacturers' formula. I think that is what Jean and Bernie are trying to prevent.

"They recognise the need for independent teams as the backbone and fail safe of F1.

"I am terribly terribly disappointed that we have worked so hard for two years and not been able to get any cost controls in place.

"What Jean Todt has done [with the standard engine plan] is born out of frustration as much as anything else. He is absolutely right. We need to get costs down and people need to realise that."

Tender right

Although the opening up of a tender for a standard engine will only happen if there is support among teams, Fernley suggests that the FIA should go ahead with it anyway as it may throw up good alternative ideas for F1.

"What I would encourage is go through the tender process and let's see what is there, and what can come out of it," he said.

"Who is to say that other things and other ideas will not come through if we don't do the tender process."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Nico Hulkenberg , Sergio Perez
Article type Breaking news