Xtrac set to bid for exclusive F1 gearbox supply deal for 2021-'24

Gearbox specialist Xtrac is set to submit a tender for the contract to provide gearboxes to all Formula 1 teams for the 2021 to '24 seasons

Xtrac set to bid for exclusive F1 gearbox supply deal for 2021-'24

The FIA published an invitation to tender last week for the supply of a common seven-speed gearbox cassette as a step towards controlling costs.

Teams will be expected to have the use of four gearboxes per car for the '21 season, with two extras for pre-season and mid-season testing, making for a total of 10.

The design is not set to change for the remaining three years of the tender contract.

The FIA has made it clear in the tender that a reduction in costs for the teams will have to be demonstrated if the plan is to go ahead.

The quietly announced F1 change with big implications

Xtrac is well known in the F1 paddock as it already supplies components to several teams, and in the past has provided complete gearboxes to Lotus Racing, HRT and Marussia.

"I think it would be expected for us to submit a tender," managing director Peter Digby told Autosport.

"I think there's a big cost saving that can be achieved if the right product is supplied to all the teams, it offers reliability and saves a lot of ongoing development that the teams inevitably do when they're competing.

"I think it's a very good tender, they've asked all the right questions, and it's an impressive bit of work that's gone into it, although it's a little bit later than we would have hoped."

Any potential supplier has until the deadline of March 15 to submit details of its technical package, as well as the commercial terms it is willing to operate under, which can cover either a sale or lease arrangement.

"It's a tight timescale to work to. But that's motor racing, and we're used to tight timescales.

"We've got a lot of work to go through, we have to consult our lawyers etcetera to make sure that everything is OK, but it looks like a sensible document, I must say. We're quite excited about the concept if it proceeds - and it may not."

Digby is also confident that a common supply will succeed in lowering overall expenditure for teams.

"It should be possible to achieve a cost saving when you look at the fact that you're producing one gearbox for 10 teams - there are six different designs for gearboxes at the moment. It should be more cost effective, but we'll have to see how it works out.

"F1 teams typically do a new gearbox every two or three years, so you'll be saving on that cost. The tooling, which is quite substantial, you'll be saving on that across all the different teams."

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