Newey warns of Formula One spending race

Sat Feb 6, 2016 10:04am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Moves to open up engine development in 2017 will trigger a Formula One "spending frenzy" likely to increase the dominance of champions Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull technical head Adrian Newey has warned.

"More spending, simple as that," he told Reuters when asked about the consequences of plans to scrap the current power unit 'token' system and allow unrestricted development.

The change, confirmed last week by Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul, is part of a deal agreed with the manufacturers to provide privately-owned teams with far cheaper engines.

Formula One switched from V8s to a complex and costly V6 turbo hybrid power unit in 2014 and it soon became apparent that Mercedes were far ahead.

The German manufacturer's works team has won both drivers' and constructors' championships for the past two years while others using their engines have also had a considerable advantage.

Red Bull, champions for four years in a row between 2010 and 2013 with Renault power, finished fourth last year behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Mercedes-powered Williams.

"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. That’s not happened," Newey said.

"So it becomes a spending frenzy...the numbers being spent by the big manufacturers are eye-watering and so I think potentially for companies such as Renault who aren’t prepared to spend that sort of money, it means actually the gaps get bigger not smaller."   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One technical chief Adrian Newey speaks on the radio during the second practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone