Lotus labels two-tier engine formula ‘a can of worms’

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Lotus technical director Nick Chester thinks allowing a new set of power unit regulations in Formula One would be “quite a can of worms”.

The FIA is currently investigating the possibility of introducing a new, cheaper engine that would be provided by an independent supplier from 2017 onwards. The decision was taken after Ferrari vetoed cost capping measures aiming to reduce the price of customer engines to €12million (£8.6million).

FIA President Jean Todt claims that current regulations can be adapted to make sure the more affordable power unit is competitive, using the World Endurance Championship’s current balance of performance to back up his case.

Chester admits to being doubtful about whether the sport’s governing body can achieve such goal.

“It’s quite a can of worms,” he commented. “A two-tier championship would be very difficult to operate. There would be so many different challenges for equalisation and this would be exceedingly difficult with engines of different characteristics.”

Lotus’ own engine situation is still a question mark at the moment, with Renault yet to officially follow up on its Letter of Intent to take over the Enstone-based squad.

Team CEO Matthew Carter revealed on Monday that Lotus could still use Mercedes as a fallback plan for 2016 in case the expected deal did not materialise.

However, Chester insists the squad remains on target, and candidly explains that this year’s lack of development on the 2015-spec E23 has freed up some time to work on its successor.

“We’re well progressed through the design process and most of the layout has been done. We’ve learnt a lot over the past two seasons and all this knowledge is being put into next year’s car.

“There hasn’t been the greatest amount of development through the year on the E23, so we’ve been able to dedicate quite a bit of additional manpower to our 2016 challenger. Manufacture of some of the parts is already underway and we’re looking at a lot of the final detailing currently.”

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