Thursday, December 11, 2008

Renault interested in FIA Standard Powertrain?

Autosport is reporting that there are five expressions of interest in the FIA's standard powertrain on offer, and that one of them is Renault.

The other four are the two Red Bull teams, Williams, and Force India.

This would leave Ferrari, BMW, Toyota as "total package" manufacturers, while McLaren gets their engines from Mercedes.

The offer of standard engine packages is attractive to the non-manufacturer teams, especially when you consider that the standard will also be a reference, in that while manufacturers will be permitted to build their own versions of the reference engine, their versions will not be permitted to exceed the reference version's capabilities in any way. This will put the independant teams on an equal footing as far as powertrain goes, and will be at least an equal footing to the other teams if not an outright performance advantage.

I still don't understand why a car manufacturer would want a standard engine, even if it does come unbadged. Anyone who knows anything about Formula 1 will know which teams get the standard engines, and badging this one a "Renault" won't fool anyone.

Teams which build their own engines will not have development costs spread over multiple teams, so they will end up spending more to end up with an engine which at best is at parity to everyone else's.

Engines are one of the few areas where race technologies might still have an influence on real-world products. To deny the manufacturers this area of development devalues Formula 1 to potential participants.