Former Formula One driver Stefan Johansson says current power unit regulations are “ridiculous”, as these prevent Mercedes’ rivals from closing the gap.
The double world champions have been ruling the F1 roost since the sport switched to 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged power units in 2014. Rival manufacturers Ferrari, Renault, and Honda can only enhance their unit within the scope of development provided for in the token system.
Johansson, whose own F1 career spanned 11 years (1980-1991), believes this makes the situation farcical.
“The real problem is this incredibly complicated engine formula that F1 has with penalties for this and that, and you’re not allowed to do any development,” he wrote in his latest blog.
“It continues to make no sense to me. The development ban was initially implemented to keep the cost at a sensible level, but that concept is already completely broken.
“The manufacturers have spent so much money on these engines it’s obscene. Why not just let them carry on developing them and at least be able to fix them? It’s ridiculous to have a formula where there’s only one successful engine and the others are not permitted to do the development they obviously need to become competitive.
Johansson says these restrictions are made even more preposterous considering that work and research on the chassis have continued unabated.
“Yet you can bolt 500 new pieces on to the chassis every weekend if you want. The top teams do that of course, with crates of aero-parts flown in everyday in a never-ending development war with their chassis but you still can’t touch the engine. It’s nonsense.
“If you were allowed to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the engines as you are on the chassis, I am sure that Renault, Honda and Ferrari would all be better, maybe not as good as the Mercedes but certainly a lot closer.
“With these rules if you don’t get the engine right out of the box there’s really almost no way to catch up and you’re just screwed. If your engine is as wrong as the Honda is, what do you do? You’re only allowed X-amount of upgrades. On top of that, you’re not allowed to go testing.”
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