Mario Illien, formerly the designer of Mercedes-Benz's championship winning Formula One engines, insists the current rules do not inspire him to consider a return to the sport. Since Mercedes bought the F1 related part of his Ilmor firm in 2005,...
Mario Illien, formerly the designer of Mercedes-Benz's championship winning Formula One engines, insists the current rules do not inspire him to consider a return to the sport.
Since Mercedes bought the F1 related part of his Ilmor firm in 2005, the Swiss began focusing on his ties with the IRL and NASCAR series in America and even attempted a foray into the world of MotoGP.
Since he departed the F1 paddock, the world championship has switched to V8 engines and progressively eased down the development chase to today's era of rev limits and an engine 'freeze'.
In 2009, drivers are allowed only 8 engines for the entire championship, and there is talk of reducing this number even further to just five in 2010.
In Ilmor's era, such as when Mika Hakkinen won the 1998 and 1999 titles, engine makers were building up to 200 engines a season.
Today, arguably the most important element is reliability, with most F1 engines actually performing on a similar level.
"Personally I don't find it very interesting any more," he said in an interview with motorline.cc. "I have to say on one hand I am glad that I am no longer there.
"The worst thing is that they are spending exactly the same money today as we spent in the past, but for relatively little progress."
Illien said that although the modern engine regulations have introduced "stability", he joked that the same principle of stability can also be applied to how fascinating this era of F1 engine development is.
"Now no one talks about the engines," he lamented. "(In F1) it is practically a standard engine, with too much regulation. A great many parameters (of the designs) are prescribed.
"My passion in racing is for the development, and that is no longer present."
Asked if he would consider returning to F1, Illien said the "conditions" would have to be correct, in terms of the ability for engine makers to be "creative" with modern rules such as limits on the amount of fuel that can be used per race.
"We will see what happens," he added.