Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that he isn’t a fan of the 2018 F1 engine rules. He says that it would be “horrible” to see the 2018 Formula One world championship decided on engine penalties. With the sport’s move to three engines for the entire campaign, things will be tougher on the reliability front.
Back in 2017, drivers were allocated four power units. This season that number will be reduced to three in a bid to lower costs. Select engine components will also be reduced to just two units for the whole of 2018. This has fueled concerns over the three-engine target following reliability issues that plagued Honda and Renault last year.
McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne amassed a total of nearly 400 grid penalties alone in 2017. This prompted criticism from fans and teams alike, who slammed the increasing number of engine-related penalties. They said that it ruined the spectacle and affected race outcomes.
Horner said, “There will be plenty of grid penalties in 2018. What you’d hate to see is a championship decided on grid penalties. Getting to the point with three engines in 21 races, it is nuts really. Contrary to whatever Toto [Wolff] says, his non-executive chairman [Niki Lauda] was arguing for four engines earlier in the year because it is a false economy. Those engines go on a world tour, they are here anyway, and for more races, less engines, it as I say a false economy, and it would be horrible to see a championship decided on engine penalties.”
The teams felt the kickback of a four-engine limit during the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix. Red Bull was forced to sacrifice performance to ensure reliability. Horner believes that the 2018 F1 engine rules should have called for a five engine limit. It makes more sense for him as that was the allocation when F1 last had a 21-race calendar in 2016.
He said, “You’re still burning these engines up on the dyno, but the reality is it doesn’t save any money. These grid penalties, I don’t think anybody particularly likes seeing them to the extent that they’re happening at the moment. We want to see the guys out on the track. Obviously don’t throw caution to the wind with costs, but for me five engines for a 21-race championship would be a more sensible and logical number.”