Adrian Newey: Engine restriction removal will mean no competition

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Adrian Newey celebrates Daniel Ricciardo's 2015 Belgian Grand Prix win
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo won the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix

Plans to remove restrictions on engine development will make Formula 1 less competitive, says Red Bull design chief Adrian Newey.

The move, scheduled for 2017, is aimed at producing a convergence of engine performance after two seasons of domination by Mercedes.

But Newey told Reuters it will lead to a "spending frenzy" and will mean "the gaps get bigger not smaller."

He described notions that performance would equalise as "quaint".

The engine manufacturers and governing body the FIA have agreed the move after two years of arguments about the previous system of development restrictions.

This was based on a series of 'tokens' ascribed to various parts of the engine on the basis of their influence on performance.

The number of development tokens manufacturers could use reduced from year to year.

But senior figures decided the system was flawed and will remove it, pending official ratification by the FIA's legislative process.

Newey said: "If you look back on the original technical working group meetings and minutes from 2012-13, the agreement at that point was that the engines would be frozen but teams that were behind would still be allowed to keep developing.

Tag Heuer label on Red Bull's latest car
Renault will supply Red Bull with engines that will be labelled as Tag Heuer

"That's not happened."

He added that the amount of money being spent by the big manufacturers were "eye watering" and said that Renault, from which Red Bull get an engine, "aren't prepared to spend that sort of money".

Renault has just re-entered F1 for this season with its own team but are continuing to supply Red Bull with engines, which will be badged as Tag Heuer. Renault insists it will allocate a sufficient budget to win - and have targeted regular podiums within three years.

Newey also questioned a system that he said allowed the car companies to supply engines to customer teams that were not as competitive as the ones they use themselves.

"It's very curious to me that we have this set of regulations where the manufacturer has to supply the same hardware to other teams, but it's no under no obligation to supply the same software and therefore the same performance," said Newey.

"Nobody is complaining about this because the customer teams can't complain because their contract doesn't allow them to."

He said Renault were an exception: "They have always given the same power units in every sense of the word, including software, to their customer teams as their works teams."

Daniel Ricciardo and Danni Kyvat
Daniel Ricciardo and Danni Kyvat are Red Bull's drivers for the 2016 season

Red Bull and Renault won four consecutive drivers' and constructors' titles together from 2010-13 under the previous engine formula, for 2.4-litre naturally aspirated V8s.

But Renault have struggled since the new turbo hybrid V6 engines were introduced alongside fuel limits in 2014.

Red Bull and Renault fell out through 2015 but patched up their relationship after the team were unable to secure engines from Mercedes, Ferrari or Honda.

Red Bull have only a one-year contract with Renault to use the re-branded engine but Newey said it was "an option" for the two to continue working together beyond this season.

He added: "The problem of course is that if Renault are not able to compete with the spend and development race then we are put in a position where neither they nor us can be fully competitive."

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC