F1 team bosses see no alternative to engine grid penalties

Several Formula 1 team bosses say they can’t think of an alternative to the current grid penalty system for using more than three engines per season.

F1 team bosses see no alternative to engine grid penalties

Penalties have once again become a talking point this year, with title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both having taken fourth power units and the associated move down the grid.

Many observers fear that another change and thus a penalty for either man over the final five races of the season could have a decisive impact on the title battle.

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff argues it would be difficult to have a system that penalises only the team and not the driver.

"I think the penalty system on power units is pretty robust," he said when asked by Motorsport.com if it was time to revisit the concept of grid penalties.

"Because what we need to avoid is that we are building power units in a way that they perform at peak performance for only a few races.

"And if you change regulations, and you say okay, there is no grid penalty for the driver, but just constructor points, it will still mean that teams, if you're in a fight for a driver championship, will just throw engines at that car.

"I think if we come up with good solutions definitely it is worth looking at. It's confusing for the new fans why, out of the driver's responsibility, an engine penalty puts him at the back of the grid, or 10 or five places away. And that's clearly not great, but I haven't got the solutions."

Red Bull, which will become an engine manufacturer when Honda leaves after 2021, is not a fan of the three engine limit per season.

Red Bull, which will become an engine manufacturer when Honda leaves after 2021, is not a fan of the three engine limit per season.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Like Wolff, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl cautioned that raising the limit would only encourage manufacturers to push the boundaries further.

"I obviously get the point that it is not ideal having all these penalties," he said when quizzed on the topic by Motorsport.com.

"But to be honest, I do not really see a straightforward solution to that because for example if you will decide let's go to four engines engine instead of three. We will end up all with five engines, because we would just crank up the engines."

"In the end, it just shows that all the manufacturers teams are pushing each other so hard that we all push the technology we're using to the absolute limit or beyond and that's what ends then in issues or problems. So we simply have to accept that at the moment, and get on with it."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, whose organisation becomes an engine manufacturer when it takes over the Honda project in 2022, believes that the current limit is too low.

"I've never been a fan of two engines or three engines," Horner added. "For me you end up using four pretty much in a season anyway. So it's something we need to look out for the future.

"I mean, there's talk of going down to two engines, which I think would be a mistake. So it needs to be a sensible balance."

shares
comments

Related video

Perez F1 performances boosted by Red Bull set-up breakthrough
Previous article

Perez F1 performances boosted by Red Bull set-up breakthrough

Next article

Ferrari: Power gap to Mercedes "not so dramatic" anymore

Ferrari: Power gap to Mercedes "not so dramatic" anymore
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022