It’s time for F1 to give the VW Group an ultimatum: Put up or shut up

F1: Racing News 365

The potential arrival of two Volkswagen manufacturers, Audi and Porsche, is being met with apathy by followers, as a result of German manufacturers dragging their heels over an entry for greater than a decade.

					It's time for F1 to give the VW Group an ultimatum: Put up or shut up

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© Sean Bull Design

As soon as once more, the VW Group has stopped wanting committing itself to Method 1, as a substitute shrouding its failure to take a binding resolution with phrases similar to “confirmed plans for a possible (notice) Method 1 entry of the 2 [Porsche and Audi] Group manufacturers” and of “offering particulars at a later stage” as “we’re at present within the ultimate analysis section”.

Certainly, the assertion identified that “the brand new laws for 2026 and subsequent years are usually not but out there”, thus successfully blaming the delay on the Fédération Internationale de l’Car, with which it stated it was in discussions. This overlooks that each manufacturers have actively participated in all latest conferences of FIA engine working teams – convened particularly to draw new manufacturers to F1 – since July final 12 months.

Intriguingly, whereas Audi later issued a press release through which it sang the synergies of F1 and its “Vorsprung durch Technik” strapline – as an apart, first launched by the model’s British promoting company through the early eighties and topic to quite a few proprietary court docket instances since – Porsche’s PR division didn’t even trouble to remark in regards to the (non-)resolution. What have they got to cover?

Porsche dragging its heels

Method 1 has been right here earlier than: again in 2010, when the present engine
formulation was debated, Porsche attended varied working group classes
however withdrew when it turned clear F1 was intent on standardising engine
structure – inline-4 was initially agreed, later modified to V6.
Porsche had punted a V4 structure; when this was refused, the corporate took
its V4 to Le Mans. Certain, it gained in opposition to Audi, however WEC isn’t F1.

Eight years on – after first Audi, then Porsche withdrew from WEC –
the latter once more expressed curiosity in F1, even constructing a V6 idea
engine, however insisted that the pricey and sophisticated MGU-H warmth vitality
restoration techniques be dropped as pre-condition of entry.

Present F1 engine suppliers agreed to accommodate Porsche’s calls for
topic to the model committing unequivocally to F1’s ‘new period’ from
2021 – later delayed a 12 months as a result of pandemic. As soon as once more Porsche was
lengthy on guarantees however brief on motion, and MGU-H stayed…

When Stefano Domenicali took the wheel of F1 in 2021 – having been
recruited from Audi subsidiary Lamborghini – one of many former Ferrari
F1 boss’ tasked targets was to draw Germany’s greatest automotive maker
to the game: ideally each Porsche and Audi, however both would do.
Previous to his Lambo gig, Stefano led a venture (aborted attributable to Dieselgate)
aimed toward bringing Audi into F1, so understood VW Group politics.

					It's time for F1 to give the VW Group an ultimatum: Put up or shut up

Dissent within the engine ranks

A lot of producers had been invited to affix the engine working group; solely Porsche and Audi turned up, crucially, tabling a company
want listing: drop MGU-H, delay the engine formulation by a 12 months to 2026,
introduce cost-saving measures together with restrictions on bench-testing
and funds caps, and develop sustainable, zero carbon fuels. On the face
of it these made good sense, and broadly chimed with the longer term
path of F1.

Then, although, the bickering began: bio or artificial fuels,
all-wheel or two-wheel drive vitality restoration techniques, bench-testing
exemptions for newcomers to allow them to rise up to hurry – the
argument being Honda’s embarrassingly gradual and unreliable begin to its
F1 return – and the extent of (engine) funds caps, which might drive
present engine suppliers to retrench or redeploy loyal employees.

Mercedes and Renault reluctantly agreed to drop the MGU-H and embrace
all or a few of the above if it helped entice the newcomers, Ferrari
sat between two stools taking part in a wait-and-see sport, whereas Purple Bull, in
attendance via its nascent RB Powertrains division, backed the VW
contingent, clearly hopeful of chopping a cope with one or different of the 2
manufacturers. Though consensus was absent, all spoke of a “optimistic
assembly”.

Within the interim, the little-known Method One Fuels Advisory Panel,
which includes all main oil corporations no matter whether or not they’re
lively in F1 and advises the game on such issues, met to debate the
future. No shock: there was appreciable dissension in FOFAP’s ranks,
with sources telling RacingNews365.com the members didn’t agree on the
method ahead, with one model lifeless set in opposition to bio or artificial fuels.

Nonetheless, the FIA, F1 and engine working group ploughed on, setting a
deadline of mid-December, the plan being to desk a regulatory framework
on the ultimate World Motor Sport Council assembly convened by outgoing President Jean Todt.

Audi reply as FIA define future engine framework

Nevertheless, as revealed by RacingNews365.com, moderately than pledging its
dedication to F1, Audi addressed a letter to Todt stating: “Audi
stays dedicated to this course of and we look ahead to be working with
you and your crew to finish this necessary course of, and to substantiate
our Method 1 entry early subsequent 12 months.”

After the WMSC assembly in Paris, the next assertion was issued by the governing physique:

The World Council validated the framework for the 2026 Energy Unit Regulation and recognized the next key targets:

A Highly effective Environmental Message: 100% sustainable gasoline, general effectivity, and shift of focus to electrical energy
Important Price Discount: technical, operational, and monetary laws
Newcomers: make it doable for them to affix the game at a aggressive stage
Defend the Present: highly effective and high-revving energy unit, automotive
efficiency, sound, drivers’ potential to race, avoiding extreme
differentiation

The 2026 Energy Unit Laws will likely be based mostly on 4 pillars:

Retain the 1.6-litre V6 engine
Enhance electrical energy to 350kW
Get rid of the MGU-H
Introduction of a Energy Unit value cap

The assertion ended with: “An in depth doc of the 2026 Energy Unit
Laws will likely be developed and submitted to the World Motor Sport
Council in early 2022.”

					It's time for F1 to give the VW Group an ultimatum: Put up or shut up

It's time for the FIA to mark a line within the sand

Be aware that the complete VW Group company calls for had been (greater than)
lined, but these had been nonetheless not sufficient to entice Porsche and Audi to
F1 in December 2021 and even April 2022… what, then, do the manufacturers
truly need? As an alternative of much-mooted dedication – as per Audi’s “early
subsequent [2022] 12 months” – at Easter time each manufacturers nonetheless discover themselves in
the “ultimate analysis section”.

Ask F1 honchos about VW Group’s plans and the usual remark since July 2021 has been: “It is coming, be affected person.”

Precisely what is supposed by “it is” was and isn’t specified. It may
imply none, one model or each, however, within the interim, F1 – and, crucially,
F1’s present coterie of engine suppliers – are unable to maneuver ahead.
Probably that’s VW Group’s endgame: if they do not enter, disrupt the
timeline for others? In spite of everything, F1 discovered itself in that place in 2010
and 2019, and, solely after an ultimatum was issued, did Porsche leap –
away from F1…

Since July 2021, the automotive panorama has modified dramatically:
gasoline costs have shot up, electrification has compelled automotive makers to
make investments closely in new tech whereas retrenching employees – VW envisages
spending $100 billion {dollars} on the transition and retrenching 30,000 employees – whereas
the worldwide microchip scarcity value the corporate 350,000 items to this point this
12 months. ‘Dieselgate’ was small beer by comparability, but scuppered Audi’s
F1 plans in 2015.

I, for one, would dearly like to report on Audi and Porsche successes
– the keys to a mannequin from every model grasp in my residence, and I’ve the
T-shirts and caps, too – however this sport of charades has prevailed lengthy
sufficient.

It’s time the FIA and F1 issued an ultimatum of 30 June to VW
Group: put up or shut up. If they do not commit by then – 12 months after
the primary assembly – there by no means was any severe intent.

Picture: Sean Bull Design

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					It's time for F1 to give the VW Group an ultimatum: Put up or shut up

					It's time for F1 to give the VW Group an ultimatum: Put up or shut up

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