ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Formula One’s governing body sees no going back on a tightening of the engine rules that Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has called “barking mad”.
Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ended a season littered with engine-related grid penalties and some teams have questioned the sense of reducing a driver’s allocation from four power units to three next season.
There are also 21 races in 2018, one more than this year.
International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt said the teams had only themselves to blame, however.
“It’s not something new, it was decided years ago,” the Frenchman told reporters.
“To change, to decide now let’s go back to four engines, we need unanimous agreement. And we don’t get unanimous agreement, so we have three engines.”
The reduction was agreed when the 1.6 litre V6 turbo hybrid power units were introduced in 2014 with the emphasis on cost control and energy efficiency.
Each has six individual elements, with the use of parts beyond the permitted allocation incurring hefty penalties.
The situation reached farcical levels at September’s Italian Grand Prix, when Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, on pole position, was the only driver to start from where he qualified.
”For me it’s absolutely barking mad,“ Horner told Britain’s Channel Four television over the weekend. ”We’ve only just got through this year on six engines, I think.
“To go to three next year for more races is nutty, to be honest.”
Any rule change at this point in the year requires the unanimous agreement of all teams, and Mercedes and Ferrari have enjoyed far better reliability than Honda and Red Bull’s supplier Renault.
“To be clear, I am not so excited when I read that one team has had 100 grid penalties during the year,” said Todt, adding that one of the reasons for the change to three engines was to reduce costs for the smaller, private teams.
Ross Brawn, Formula One’s managing director for sport, said absurd penalties that amounted to several multiples of the total number of positions on the starting grid would be simplified.
The penalties, which far exceeded the 20 places, were effectively meaningless but confusing for fans.
”We are changing next year to just putting cars at the back of the grid,“ he told Channel Four. ”We’re not going to have 50, 60 (place) penalties. So at least it will be simple and easy to understand.
“I think we were probably approaching 1,000 grid penalties by the end of this season and it’s not good.”
Additional reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by David Goodman