Teams unhappy with next year's ECU

The FIA is being urged to consider revisions to next year's standard electronic control unit (ECU) following complaints from several leading teams, autosport.com has learned

Teams unhappy with next year's ECU

Formula One is switching to a standard ECU next season, and the tender has been won by McLaren Electronic Systems. But initial tests of the new unit have not gone well, and teams have now been in touch with the FIA to voice their concerns.

Autosport.com understands that the matter was discussed in a meeting between the teams at Istanbul on Saturday morning, with Renault boss Flavio Briatore particularly outspoken about the situation.

Some teams have struggled to get their engine characteristics suited to the ECU, while one leading outfit found that they could not even get their engine started when they tried to run it on track for the first time.

Ferrari are one of the most outspoken critics, and claim that the ECU and its current software actually made their car unsafe when they tested it on track and without traction control for the first time.

Engine chief Gilles Simon said: "We have some serious concerns on the MES system that starts next year.

"We have had safety issues that we explained to the FIA. But we are working on the system and we hope that everything can be solved because of course we cannot take risks with the safety of the drivers."

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen is equally worried about the situation and has been in discussions with the FIA about the matter.

"There are some issues," he explained. "I cannot confirm what other teams have experienced on the track but there are some issues we are concerned about.

"We know that the FIA is dealing with it and have provided the FIA with the information we have experienced so far.

"It would need quite significant work on the software side if we want to get it ready for the winter tests."

There have been discussions between teams about putting a joint petition to the FIA about the matter, but that has not materialised yet and outfits are liaising with the governing body on an individual basis.

But not all teams are unhappy with the ECU. Honda Racing boss Nick Fry said his team were pressing ahead with adapting their engine to the new systems.

"Although we have heard the concerns of the other teams, we are not as concerned as they are and we think that the rules are the rules," he told autosport.com. "The standard ECU with no traction control was instituted for good reason.

"I have heard people voice safety concerns with the new system, which is not our view. It is something we have got to work on. We are not involved with a petition with the other teams although they have mentioned it at this stage."

World champions Renault are scheduled to test with the new ECU for the first time at Monza next week.

Further meetings to discuss the ECU matter have been scheduled for the next race in Monza.

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