Regulations introduced by the FIA today confirm that only identical engines can be offered to customer teams from 2016, which would render Ferrari’s suggestion to allow Red Bull or Toro Rosso the use of their 2015 specification engine next year, no longer plausible.
The release by the FIA, citing article 23.5 of their 2016 Sporting Regulations, says:
“Only power units which are identical to the power unit that has been homologated by the FIA in accordance with Appendix 4 of these regulations may be used at an Event during the 2016- 2020 Championship seasons.”
It does not however prevent manufacturers from gaining a competitive edge by using different software mapping or fuel products to that of their customers, but it will make the power differential between those teams using the same engine less of a possibility. The current token system will still be in place however, and so customer teams will not be bound to cash these in to receive the newest specification of engine brought out by the manufacturer, which may still see a customer team on a different spec to that of its supplier at some stages of the season, but manufacturers will not be allowed to deny their customers the new engine if requested.
For Red Bull, this ruling makes it more and more likely that they will now have to try and mend the broken ties that were recently severed with Renault and hope that they will agree to supply them with engines again next year. Another option for the Austrian owned team would be to find a new engine supplier to take on the challenge, but at this late stage of the season and with their recent actions over the saga, it is highly improbable that anyone would want to take up that post. The only other option then available to the Milton Keynes based sqaud would be to come to some sort of arrangement with Ferrari.
Compromises to the directive will be allowed if all teams agree to this taking place, as per Article 2.1 of the Sporting Regulation, which states:
“Article 1.2 of the rules says: “These Sporting Regulations were published on 30 September 2015 and may only be changed after this date with the unanimous agreement of all competitors entered in the 2016 Championship, save for changes made by the FIA for safety reasons which may come into effect without notice or delay.”
With an F1 summit being held tomorrow to discuss the engine tweak possibilities for 2016, an agreement could be made on this judgement sooner rather than later.
Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG PETRONAS