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Kaltenborn and Sauber ready to oppose FIA's independent F1 engine plan

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Kaltenborn and Sauber ready to oppose FIA's independent F1 engine plan
Nov 19, 2015, 8:52 PM

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has criticised the FIA’s plan to introduce a standard Formula 1 engine for the start of the 2017 season ...

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has criticised the FIA’s plan to introduce a standard Formula 1 engine for the start of the 2017 season and is set to oppose it when it comes to voting on the proposal in the coming weeks.

Kaltenborn believes that the independent engine idea would create a negative “two-tier” system in the sport despite the budget power units being available at a cheaper price than the hybrid turbos already on offer from the manufacturers.

Monisha Kaltenborn

The FIA pressed ahead with a tender document for a commercially available engine last weekend, but various F1 team sources suggest that they fully expect Ferrari to veto it, even if it gets voted through the F1 Commission. This is part of the process that has to play out as the governing body and commercial rights holder tackle the power of the manufacturers head-on. But it is interesting that the plan is rejected by an independent like Sauber on sporting grounds, even if Sauber has always been politically aligned to Ferrari.

In an interview with Auto Motor und Sport, the Sauber boss expressed her objections to the FIA’s proposal. The governing body recently ask manufacturers to submit “expressions of interest”, but Kaltenborn reckons F1 would be better of trying to reduce the price of the current engines.

She said: “I think it's not good for the entire sport, when we [change the regulations] again. That would be bad for the image. Then it will again mean that we are totally unworldly and pass by the reality.

“In the next step we [would] have problems with the sponsors, and then [they] no longer want to participate. The second problem is the implementation of the whole [idea].”

“We get a two-tier society, [so] this is not a good solution. How can this one create parity since it is not purely about performance? We should rather focus on bringing down the cost of the current engines.”

Monisha Kaltenborn Jean Todt

The Swiss team is currently eighth in the constructor’s championship on 36 world championship points after recovering from the worst results in its history, when it failed to score in 2014.

When asked if Sauber would be tempted by an engine that cost just €6m for the start of 2017, Kaltenborn said that figure was still too high and that Ferrari’s right to veto any change in F1’s regulations would render the discussions pointless.

She said: “Six to seven million, I find a great number. I would hope that Ferrari offers us the current engine for this money. I can simply not imagine that [the sport] passes the motor. We've just experienced that Ferrari has a right of veto. [so] why discuss something when you know that at some point the end of the flagpole will be achieved?”

XPB.cc Christian Horner Jean Todt

Kaltenborn’s view is in contrast to her opposite number at Red Bull, Christian Horner, who recently described the independent engine idea as a “no-brainer”.

Horner, who’s team is still without a confirmed engine supplier for next season, said: "It's crucial because we're demonstrating quite clearly there is no regulation that dictates that engine suppliers have to supply, let alone at a competitive price.

"So an independent engine, for the future of Formula 1, for us it's a no-brainer. If you can't get engines elsewhere then you can't race, so it's important to have a competitive, economical engine, and if it can't be the current engine, then there needs to be another engine.

"Jean Todt [the president of the FIA] has taken the situation very seriously, and he's said very clearly what his plans are."

Monisha Kaltenborn Bob Fernley

Kaltenborn also spoke about the complaint her team made, along with Force India, to the EU Commission regarding the way F1 is managed and governed. The Indian-born Austrian explained that the teams’ were concerned at the privileges enjoyed by bigger squads in their contract negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone and were given no choice but to take action.

She said: “We are concerned [as] we do not agree with the privileges that have been granted to some teams, be [they for] monetary reasons [or] in the rights of decision-making.

“The preparation for this complaint has taken very long time to complete. We tried the whole time to talk with the others. If you eventually realise there's no point, this [is the] path [you] must go up.

Felipe Nasr

What have you made of Sauber’s performance in 2015? Do you agree with its complaint to the EU Commission? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari Shop Now , Sauber