F1 engine debate at centre of 2017 rules talks on Tuesday

Formula 1 bosses will meet on Tuesday in a bid to finally approve a series of changes for the 2017 regulations

F1 engine debate at centre of 2017 rules talks on Tuesday

Lengthy talks regarding F1 power units and aerodynamics meant the original deadline of February 29 for the finalised 2017 rules was pushed back to April 30, this Saturday.

Meetings of the Strategy Group and F1 Commission have been called on Tuesday to get the rules over the line.

But following the exciting start to this season, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has questioned the wisdom of making changes to the rules.

As it stands, the aero regulations are close to being finalised but there is still work to be done on the engine rules.

WHY ENGINE ROW TAKES CENTRE STAGE

There is a very heavy political debate going on behind the scenes when it comes to the engine regulations.

Red Bull has no engine deal in place for next season and its team principal Christian Horner is concerned at what he sees as the power being wielded by the four manufacturers - Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, Honda - when it comes to future supply.

If he genuinely believes they are dithering over the make-up of the regulations, and there is no guarantee of supply, Red Bull will find itself in trouble unless an independent engine manufacturer is allowed into the fray.

FIA president Jean Todt and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone threatened the 'big four' with the introduction of an independent power unit unless they addressed the four criteria of cost, availability of supply, noise and performance convergence.

The guarantee of supply, in particular, is crucial to Red Bull to avoid the mess it found itself in last year when it tried to partner with Mercedes, Ferrari, and then Honda, after deciding to split with Renault, only to fail in all three attempts.

But Autosport understands from an independent source there is a 95 per cent agreement with regard to the four key points.

For 2017 there will be a €1million reduction in the current prices charged by the manufacturers to customers, with the contract from 2018-2020 at €12million per annum.

From 2018 there will also be a guarantee of supply, so no team will find itself in such a perilous position as Red Bull did last year, and there will be a convergence in performance ranging from plus-to-minus two per cent.

With regard to noise, there are currently several options being explored, which according to a source "all sound very good".

If an agreement cannot be reached, then it will be down to Todt and Ecclestone to determine the independent engine idea they were keen to introduce last year returns to the table.

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