Formula 1

Are budget engines the answer to Formula 1's problems?

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The FIA have confirmed they plan to implement budget engines in Formula One by the start of the 2017 season in conjunction with the rule changes.

This comes after the FIA made public Ferrari's veto against price caps on engines supplied by the four current manufacturers - a move aimed at cutting the ever-growing expenditure in the sport which was supported by all teams apart from Ferrari.

The introduction of complex V6 hybrid engines for the 2014 season was meant to see costs fall, designed to help the teams lower down the grid who struggled financially. However, the introduction of these new engines has seen a sharp rise in prices, with engines now costing around €20 million.


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This hike caused the liquidation of Caterham towards the end of last season and almost meant the end of Manor Marussia, who were saved at the last minute. Teams like Lotus and Sauber struggle week by week, not knowing whether they would be able to afford to stay on the grid for the next season.

I tend not to agree with most things the FIA do in Formula One, but if they go ahead with this proposed plan it could bring F1 back from the brink of a major crisis. The move would have major benefits for teams already in the paddock and teams looking to join F1, as teams would no longer have to pander to the demands of the big four engine suppliers. It will also make the sport much more affordable for future team investors.

This is something the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone would be pleased to help with as they look to wrestle back the power from these four engine manufacturers, specifically Ferrari and Mercedes, who have become too powerful since the regulation changes, now powering most of the field.

This has been an issue behind the scenes in F1 for some time now, but as both Ferrari and Mercedes refused to supply Red Bull engines for the upcoming season, out of fear that Red Bull would be too competitive, it's been thrust into the public domain leading to this sudden change of heart from the powers that be.

Add to this the current complaint lodged with the European Union by Force India and Sauber, over the way rules are decided and the prize money is distributed, the hierarchy of Formula One have to be seen attempting to resolve the various issues and complaints it faces.

Budget engines will lack competitivity

The biggest issue that could come of these budget engines is the lack of competition. Unless these stand-alone suppliers can manufacture a power unit that rivals the Mercedes and Ferrari, we are likely to face races less competitive and a split championship with the top four engine manufacturers vying for top spot, while the customer teams fight for scraps - something that would be detrimental to the spectacle for the fans and participation from teams.

Some may say the sport is already uncompetitive, but when you take into account the rise of Red Bull to win four Championships and the podium finishes from the midfield teams in the last six years, I believe it has been as competitive as possible.

Ecclestone said at the US Grand Prix that F1 needs another Cosworth. However, the problem with that is when Cosworth were supplying engines to the sport the rules and regulations were far less rigid, which lead to teams creating and developing impressive machines all completely different.

Current regulations are killing creativity

With the current rules and regulations so strict, the creativity of Formula One has been killed. Teams are now scared of going against the trend, as one small deviation from the rules can result in a team being heavily penalised with either high fines or points deductions.

This has led to some of the world's very best designers, mechanics and engineers effectively working with one hand behind their back which, for the 'pinnacle' of motorsport, is completely unacceptable.

To have any chance at making Formula One competitive and cost effective, the rule book needs to be ripped up and the strategy group disbanded so we can start from scratch for 2017.

Will budget engines help to increase competition amongst Formula 1's teams? Give your opinion in the comment box below!

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Manor Marussia
Formula 1

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