Mercedes ready to listen over standard engine plan

Mercedes says it would find it hard to justify dropping engine costs to customer teams to stave of the threat of an independent engine in Formula 1, but is open to talk to the FIA about it.

Mercedes ready to listen over standard engine plan
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Race winner Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 and second placed team mate Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 in parc ferme
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director 30
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director with Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director
Esteban Gutierrez, Ferrari Test and Reserve Driver with Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
(L to R): Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director with Claire Williams, Williams Deputy Team Principal on the grid

The FIA announced earlier this month that amid concerns about the high cost of engines to customer teams, it was to make a push to find a cheap independent supplier.

Mercedes is against the idea because it thinks having two engines competing against each other in F1 would be difficult to implement

However, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says he understands why the FIA is pursuing the idea and wants engine costs cut.

"I think that it is perfectly legitimate for the FIA to try to convince the power unit manufacturers to reduce the price, because the better the price the more easy it is for the smaller teams to make the numbers," he said.

"I can understand their position, but on the other side as engine manufacturers, we have complied to these new regulations, we have developed these engines, and they are based on a business case.

"Part of the business case is the income side. So if that changes now, it changes our figures – and this is why it is different interests. But, for the benefit of F1 in general, we need to have that conversation."

No charity

FIA president Jean Todt has said that plans for an independent supplier in F1 would be dropped if manufacturers accepted dropping their supply prices to $12 million per season.

However, Wolff says that such a move is  not realistic, because manufacturers cannot provide unrealistic subsidies.

"We already lose money on the engine side, substantial," he said. "The question is how much more do we lose if we continue to subsidise those engines to some of our partners."

He added: "Our partners expect to have the most competitive engine, and in order to have the most competitive engine, because it is a competitive environment, we spent very substantial amounts in developing those engines.

"Nobody has ever asked us how we plan to recover those [costs], or if someone can contribute to help us recover.

"You can argue whether the marketing benefit of the development spend is right or wrong. But, as a matter of fact, we live in a world where we are facing a commercial reality.

"And that commercial reality is that we need to be as efficient as possible and try to recover the best possible amount.

"I think you cannot expect of anybody, of any stakeholders, to have a charitable approach. But although optimising your own situation, you can find a compromise for the sport."

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