Ross Brawn admits he was surprised by the backlash Formula 1 and the FIA received to its plans for a future power unit beyond 2020.
A joint proposal was announced ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix that retained parts of the current V6-turbo power units but removed the MGU-H and standardized some components. The changes are intended to reduce costs, simplify the technology and increase noise while remaining road relevant, but were met with opposition from Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, who weren’t expecting such a detailed proposal.
“Reflecting on it, maybe we could have presented it differently,” Brawn, F1’s managing director of motorsports, is quoted as saying by the BBC. “But I didn’t anticipate the response to be as strong as it was.
“We’ve had another meeting since then and I’ve made that comment. If that is the the thing people are most upset about, then I apologize. But let’s not lose sight of what we are trying to do. If they were uncomfortable with the way it was presented, it wasn’t intended that way.”
Having received such feedback, Brawn insists F1 and the FIA are open to discussions with the power unit manufacturers regarding the way the targets are achieved.
“If a manufacturer can demonstrate that there is a better way of doing it than what has been proposed – i.e. it is cheaper, it is more appealing to the fans, it is something that a new supplier could engage with, any of those factors – then why not?
“We are not wedded to specific solutions. We think with the expertise that we’ve got and the work we’ve done, these are the solutions that can work. If somebody suggests another solution that they think will achieve the same objective, we are not going to say no.”
However, Brawn is adamant the regulations must be changed from 2021 onwards.
“We can’t leave it as it is,” he insisted. “The current engine is an incredible piece of engineering but it’s not a great racing engine.
“It is very expensive, it doesn’t make any noise, it has componentry that, in order to control the number of uses, is creating grid penalties that make a farce of F1. There are big differentials of performance between the competitors, and we are never going to get anyone else to come in and make engines.”