Guest Author - Christine Blachford
We’re now starting to get some reaction from the teams regarding the standard engine that the FIA announced recently. Up until now, the manufacturer’s have mostly been quite quiet on the subject, although we guessed they weren’t that impressed.
Even after the FIA and FOTA met in Geneva to discuss future cost-cutting measures, things were still quiet. Now, both Toyota and Ferrari have come out and admitted they are not impressed with the proposal.
Toyota President John Howett said that many of the manufacturers would consider leaving the sport if standard engines do get introduced. Rumours were circulating that Toyota were thinking about leaving and joining Le Mans instead, but these have been dismissed. Howett said the team are committed to F1 for the short-term. He does say that could all change, however, in 2010.
Ferrari have also warned that they may leave the sport if the standard engine becomes a reality. They issued a statement saying that whilst the team are entirely committed to Formula 1, a move in this direction with the engines would damage the sport, and halt the competition and technological development that F1 encourages.
The FIA reacted to both these announcements in a calm manner, suggesting that the onus is on the teams to come up with a new plan for the future that will save both energy and costs, and that the FIA are trying to offer as many options as possible. At the moment, there are three, one of which is the standard engines. The FIA say that the Ferrari board must be misinformed if they believe that is the only way the sport is going to go. However, they have opened the tender, and clarified they’ve had a couple of interested parties, which speaks volumes about their commitment to the cause.
The big question, of course, is what Formula 1 would be like without Ferrari. They have been in the sport since the very beginning, and dominated in recent years. So many conspiracy theories focus on the fact that the FIA are biased towards Ferrari, and so, if the team weren’t in it, what would Formula 1 be like? Without any manufacturers, there would be only a couple of independent teams left, and no doubt they wouldn’t survive very long, as quite often they use manufacturer components to help them. The FIA need to think very carefully about how they handle this situation, not just because of Ferrari, but because scaring off the manufacturers is not going to be a smart move.