Pollock baffled by FIA's decision to change F1 engine rules for 2014
|By Pablo Elizalde and Dieter Rencken||Wednesday, August 3rd 2011, 16:56 GMT|
Craig Pollock says he was baffled by the FIA's decision to change its plans over engine regulations from the 2014 Formula 1 season.
Formula 1 was expected to switch to four-cylinder turbo engines from the 2013 season but, after some teams expressed their unhappiness about the plans, the ruling body announced they would be replaced by six-cylinder power units from 2014.
The move was confirmed in late June, nearly two months after Pollock's PURE engine company had announced plans to enter Formula 1 in 2013.
Pollock said he was mystified by the change and admitted PURE's plans were affected by it.
"When the four-cylinder rules were changed it was like I had literally been kicked in the lower parts," Pollock told AUTOSPORT.
"I just thought how can, when you have a World Motor Sport Council unanimous decision, that be overturned? I never thought that could happen. But the proof is, we are in F1 and it can happen.
"It is the second time that something like this has happened to me. The first time was when we had dual-branding with British American Tobacco, which was a Lucky Strike and a 555 car. There was nothing in the rules, and because of BAT pressure, I was pressured into taking them [the FIA] to court.
"We did that, and we lost - even though there was nothing in the rules. It was called an initiation into an exclusive club, so there is no way we would go down that road again. We will just get on with it and work out what is best for the future."
Pollock also expressed concerns about how the V6 units will increase costs in comparison with four-cylinder engines originally planned.
"What I cannot understand is that a lot of people in this sport are saying with 'the V6, it is great, it is fantastic, we are going to be able to contain our costs'," he said.
"Well, it doesn't contain costs. You have got four cylinders and you are going up to six cylinders, so automatically you have six pistons, more valves and it is going to cost more."
He added: "It changes the business plan substantially. When you go to investors and you go with your business plan, you go with one that has been worked out on your project, and the technical people can go forward with a four cylinder engine that is a straight four, it is a turbo, it has a KERS, so it costs X.
"And now, what we are having to do, is go back to the same people and say, 'sorry. That business plan was false, it is now X plus a certain bit more.' So we have had to totally remake our business plan. It is the same business but different amounts."
He said that despite the rule changes the project is still on schedule.
"It has been up and down. Initially we were very, very happy and we were designing a four-cylinder engine, which he had finished designing and were ready to push the button and start manufacturing.
"Then a unanimous decision was changed, and F1 switched to a V6. But we are well into that as well. We have hired all the necessary people for the design and development, we are on it and we are on schedule."
Pollock said he expects to announce its first customers during the 2012 season, but he reckons there is no hurry.
"The reality is they don't need to sign until 2013. Now we are in 2011, so I would say any time within the next year," he said.
The Scot also claimed he was not concerned about the possibility of not finding customers for his engines, as he reckons it will be an attractive offer for teams.
"If at the beginning of 2013 we had no customers, then we would have to put a big question mark over the project. But normally speaking it doesn't bother me - it goes down to strategy and how you can convince the teams on the technical side that the engine is going to be performant, and also if it is going to be cost-effective compared to the rest."
To know more about the Pollock's plans, read the Weekly Grapevine.