It was reported last week, that current Formula One boss Chase Carey made a speech to Liberty Media investors clarifying how important it is for the 2026 rules to be a contributing factor to Formula One achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Today, Toto Wolff has been reported as saying that when evaluating 2026 rules, the cost needs to be considered and there should be no need to develop a new power unit.
The world of Formula One is a fast moving one and even though there are new regulations for 2022, the real overhaul will come in 2026 when Formula One’s next generation of engine will be in play as the current v6 hybrid power units will be replaced.
Due to such a fundamental change, it is little wonder to hear that discussions have already been taking place. As a result of this, when a conclusion is eventually reached, it will be a blueprint for the future of F1 in a brave new cost (and climate) controlling world.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team Principal Toto Wolff was reported today by motorsport.com as saying it is crucial that the mistakes made ahead of the costly v6 hybrids are not repeated.
There are certainly a lot of potential pitfalls for F1 as they seek to find the right balance of hybrid and internal combustion power whilst also finding a way to incorporate sustainable fuels and through it all – keep the fans happy!
So, how are discussions progressing?
“The discussion was very good,” said Wolff. “One of the positives. It’s interesting where the auto industry goes, because everything develops in the direction of electric mobility, but there is also a new look at the internal combustion engine and the combination with electric drive. I believe we should look at the costs. Developing a completely new power unit is not somewhere we should go.
With just 20 cars on the 2020 starting grid and Honda departing after 2021, there is a much-needed desire to attract new manufacturers to the sport. Therefore, cost of developing challengers for Grand Prix encounters will play a key part in a post COVID-19 pandemic world.
“We know that we made that mistake in 2011 and 2012 when we made a highly sophisticated and also very efficient power unit, but it got very complex. As things stand I think we need to have a combination of what we have today – an internal combustion engine and add hybrid energy and power in order to have a better ratio between sustainable energy propulsion and conventional ICE engines.”
“I don’t think it’s about simplifying, it’s just about trying to not have escalating costs,” Wolff said. “And apart from the more electric component with potentially larger or more powerful battery pack, sustainable fuels are definitely the future."
Before looking too far into the future though, first up for Toto Wolff and his history making team is a double-header in Bahrain.
The Mercedes supremo spoke to the team’s official website, www.mercedesamgf1.com, sharing how Bahrain always presents an interesting challenge for the team:
“It always presents an interesting challenge, because of the variation in track conditions and temperatures between the sessions. FP1 and FP3 are held in the warmer daytime temperatures, but FP2, qualifying and the race take place in the cooler evening climate. This makes it challenging to set up the car and gather the right information when it counts.”
Having won four of the last six Bahrain Grand Prix, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team recorded some memorable victories following close competitive racing and Wolff expects another intense battle:
“We've enjoyed some strong performances in Bahrain in the past and it's always a track that produces interesting racing. Both titles may have already been decided, but we're still going to give it our best shot and we will be following the intense battle for P3 in the championship with interest.”
Mercedes have already sealed both Championships but they are never a team to rest on their laurels. Also, they no doubt are not keen to relinquish their advantage anytime soon.
As a result, whatever the future holds in the way of trying to narrow the gap to the Silver Arrows, for now at least, Mercedes are in a league of their own. So much so that the 2021 Constructors’ Championship already seems destined to head to Brackley.
The neutral fan can only hope that we do not have to wait until 2026 before a new constructor has ousted the dominance of Mercedes…though I would not bet on it.