Nevertheless, the complexity of those powertrains is on a brand new degree for a sport that was at all times fairly difficult, and the event prices have been eye-watering. To make issues worse, the outcomes have been fairly lopsided. Mercedes-AMG did a greater job than anybody else proper out of the gate and has been the category of the sector ever since. Of the 132 races held for the reason that new laws began in 2014, it has received 98 of them.
In the meantime, the opposite engine producers have tried to catch up. Ferrari made some spectacular energy features in 2019 earlier than giving all of them up once more in a still-secret settlement with the sport over alleged cheating. Renault was candid about underestimating its rivals and acrimoniously fell out with Pink Bull Racing. Honda entered the game in 2015, a yr sooner than it had deliberate however a yr after the opposite three OEMs. It has performed catchup ever since, though thus far, it is the one different OEM to rack up any wins in 2020 (one every for Pink Bull and Alpha Tauri).
The following 5 years?
F1 has been working itself into a state about future engine rules for a while now. A burgeoning world monetary disaster after which the arrival of COVID-19 have been the latest spanners within the works, main in the end to cost caps and big restrictions on engine development for the following few seasons till a brand new, yet-to-be-decided powertrain arrives in 2026. This could preserve prices down, but it surely additionally locks within the inequality of efficiency between the totally different makes.
Every OEM is allowed a single improve to its V6, turbocharger, and MGU-Ok in 2021, after which once more in 2022 and 2023. It is much more restrictive for the MGU-Ok, management electronics, and the hybrid battery—these can have a single improve between 2020 and the tip of 2021, after which a single improve between 2022-2023. After that, the specification of all these elements are frozen till the tip of 2025.
Pink Bull’s ultimatum
Pink Bull wants engines for its two groups, and it wants them earlier than the beginning of the 2021 season. By subsequent month, in reality, if it is to design subsequent yr’s vehicles round them.
Mercedes has dominated out including Pink Bull as a buyer, citing an absence of bandwidth; it at present provides powertrains to the Williams and Racing Level groups in addition to its personal, and subsequent yr provides McLaren to the roster as properly. A Pink Bull return to Renault energy appears unlikely given the acrimonious break up between the 2 in 2018, however both Renault or Ferrari could be thought-about if its most well-liked choice does not pan out.
That most well-liked choice could be to stay with the Honda powertrains it at present has, assuming it could actually preserve and assemble them. However Marko says Pink Bull is barely ready to do this if there may be a total freeze on powertrain development from 2021 until 2025. Merely put, the prices of growing new iterations of those powertrains is past the reaches of all however main OEMs.
However a whole freeze on powertrain improvement would require unanimous consent from the remaining three OEMs, and that is currently lacking. Mercedes is OK with the concept, which is unsurprising given its utter dominance. Renault says it’s going to log off, however solely on the situation that the totally different powertrains are introduced into parity earlier than being locked. And Ferrari says completely not. Which appears to convey us to an deadlock—and again to Marko’s ultimatum.