Last week's column - on progress made by Magneti-Marelli over 2014 energy-recovery systems - ended with the sentence: "Yes, [the team principals] did express reservations about the cost of the new power units - and these will certainly be more expensive than the antiquated V8s, whose roots stretch back to the past millennium, but that is a story for another day."
No sooner had that sentence been published than the 'day' arrived, with the main non-sporting discussion in the Montreal paddock being just that: the cost to teams of the 2014 V6 turbocharged units. The matter is of considerable concern to the independents, most of whom have managed to survive recent times thanks to bargain-basement - if such a term can be applied to a commodity currently coming in at around £7m per annum for a two-car-team supply - pricing levels on customer engines.
While the figure fluctuates between engine suppliers and is further influenced by the level of on-car branding (where applicable) and ancillaries, this excludes the cost of KERS, which adds anything from £1.5m to three times that to the bottom line.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken