F1 teams fail to reach agreement on engines

Monday, 11 July 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SILVERSTONE, England, (Reuters) - Formula One faced further turmoil over engine regulations on Sunday after teams failed to reach an agreement at the British Grand Prix.

“There’s no agreement,” Christian Horner, principal of champions Red Bull, told Reuters as he walked back to the team motorhome with technical head Adrian Newey.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) had said on Saturday it was prepared to agree a return to pre-Silverstone set-ups and strategies if the teams were in unanimous agreement.

The FIA began a clampdown last month on engine electronics to ensure teams did not gain an aerodynamic advantage by using systems that allowed exhaust gases to flow constantly through the rear of the car even when a driver was off the throttle.

In Valencia two weeks ago, teams were told they could no longer change engine maps between qualifying and the race -- which would have allowed them to go for extreme settings for the Saturday session before tuning down the engine for race reliability.

At Silverstone, several directives have been issued with controversial results.

One on Friday making allowances on grounds of reliability were seen by Mercedes-powered McLaren to excessively favour Red Bull and their Renault units.

That directive was then rowed back on Saturday, to the visible fury of Horner who spent an hour in discussions with race director Charlie Whiting.

McLaren principal Martin Whitmarsh, whose Mercedes-powered team appeared to have been badly hit by the changes in qualifying with Lewis Hamilton only 10th and Jenson Button fifth, had hoped for a compromise agreement as outlined by the FIA.

“Whether people like exhaust blowing or not, it’s probably the most equitable situation,” he said.

“Nobody was complaining about it 18 months ago, or 12 months ago or six months ago.

“I think it would be the fairest way. Inevitably in Formula One self-interest sometimes prevails but I think unless we go back to that then this season is going to be fraught with paranoia, feeling of being done to, of being disadvantaged.”

Red Bull have started all nine races this season on pole position and had won six of them before Sunday. McLaren had won the other two.

“It (the clampdown) may be worse for other teams but all I can say is that it certainly hit this team, it has hit the performance of our car. I think that is evident from the stopwatch,” said Whitmarsh.

“It isn’t good to change the rules midway through the year. If you do that, the team that has worked the hardest perhaps to refine that particular rule may well be disadvantaged.”