Cosworth: Unity needed over 2013 rules

Cosworth believes that Formula 1's engine manufacturers must work together to find a unified agreement about the 2013 rules amid concerns about the mounting development costs of the new 1.6-litre turbo units.

Cosworth: Unity needed over 2013 rules
Cosworth believes that Formula 1's engine manufacturers must work together to find a unified agreement about the 2013 rules amid concerns about the mounting development costs of the new 1.6-litre turbo units.

Although the Northampton-based engine maker is more than happy with the technical aspects of the new rules, it says that there are problems regarding the commercial viability of the investment needed to create the new engines.

The estimated US$25million development cost Cosworth predicts would need to be met by its partner teams - and outfits are likely to be reluctant about a doubling of engine costs for 2013.

Cosworth's general manager Mark Gallagher, who has written to the FIA to express the company's concern about the financial implications, told AUTOSPORT: "We can build the engine, we have been working on the engine and we have absolutely no issue doing the inline four [cylinder layout].

"But our customers don't want to pay for it: there isn't the money, there isn't the sponsorship in F1 - particularly for the smaller teams - and therefore the business case for the new engine is suspect.

"And that's what we have brought to the attention of the FIA. We spent over a year discussing the technical regulations, but in that year there were no conversations with the teams about the commercial implications.

"We have now had those conversations and the teams that we have spoken to have shown that when you reduce your number of engines to the teams you are supplying from 16 to 10 and now to eight, not only do they not expect to pay more, they expect to pay less.

"One team principal said to me, 'Well it's four cylinders instead of eight so that sounds like half price!' That's not the case."

Gallagher thinks that action needs to be taken because with teams reluctant to pay the increased costs, there are also fears that the major car makers - like Mercedes-Benz and Renault - will spend much more in development that originally predicted.

"It's come to our attention that there is an enormous amount of money being spent by the car manufacturers on the development of the engine," Gallagher added. "We believe we can develop a competitive engine, relative to a car company, for somewhere around 30 per cent of their costs. And that's simply because we have been at it for such a long [time], it's what we do and we know how to produce good engines.

"Having said that, precisely what everyone wanted to avoid has now happened. There is a space race going on, with more spending, and everyone going off and doing what a year ago was being thought of as irresponsible. "What we have said is that given our customers don't want to pay for it, and given that our competition is spending money at an enormous rate, we think the brake needs to be put on."

Gallagher does not believe that FIA president Jean Todt's idea of an 'equivalency formula' to retain V8s alongside the new power-units in 2013 is workable - which is why he believes a unified approach from manufacturers to resolve the situation is now being put in place.

"There is a process underway which we are all engaged in with the FIA and with the manufacturers, looking at costs and ideas for a transitional year or two years or whatever," he said.

"There have even been thoughts about alternative solutions in the medium term to try and stabilise the whole thing. I think fundamentally with the 2013 chassis regulations pretty well decided, this issue over engines needs to be resolved quickly.

"We've had meetings last weekend, this week and [have] more next week and I'm confident that inside the next month the whole thing will be resolved one way or another.

"I think there is a real determination to find a solution very quickly, and certainly the FIA's position that the decision has already been made means that there is a real urgency to ratify where we are with all of this and answer the question that we need answering: how can the economics work?"

To find out about how Cosworth aims to become a force in Formula 1 once more, read Jonathan Noble's exclusive interview with general manager Mark Gallagher here.

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