After two days of talks in Geneva between the F1 strategy group (comprising of the top six teams on the grid), the FIA, and Bernie Ecclestone, it is understood an agreement has been reached regarding the spiralling costs of engines. With the rules set to come into effect as of 2018.
The rules agreed upon to come into effect for 2018
. Limiting engine prices to £12m a year.
. V6 Turbo hybrid engines to stay until 2020.
. All teams must be supplied a power unit.
. Cutting the number of gearboxes from 5 to 3.
. Refuelling will not return.
Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari, and Honda have agreed to cut the cost of their engines to their customer teams. Possibly even going as low as the £12m per team proposed by FIA in late 2015. In exchange however the FIA have had to agree to keep the current V6 Turbo hybrids till 2020.
The teams have also agreed any team competing on the grid will be supplied a power unit by one of the four major engine suppliers. This will be seen as a positive rule in the eyes of Red Bull, who spent the majority of their 2015 season looking for an engine supplier for the 2016 season following their falling out with Renault.
The new rules may also effectively see the end of the threat by the FIA to bring in a cheaper, alternative engine for customer teams. The proposal was put forward by FIA president Jean Todd and Ecclestone towards the end of last season, after the teams refused to agree on a cost cap for the engines. It looked like this could be a possibility after the FIA voted last month to give Todd and Ecclestone the power to make the necessary changes. However, the reality is that the teams may have pursued legal action if the pair had used this power. This is due to the fact that it falls outside of the pre agreed rule-making protocol and therefore outside of the team’s contract. The new rules however will cut costs.
As well as the new engine rules the number of gearboxes per season has been cut, again to save money. Drivers will now only have three gearboxes per season instead of the five they currently have. In addition to this, refuelling will not be coming back as previously thought, since the proposal was dismissed by the teams on cost and safety grounds.