F1 Teams wary of ulterior motives over fifth engine

A number of teams are wary a potential return to five power units this season could be due to ulterior motives, F1i has learned.

A meeting of all the teams with Bernie Ecclestone in Malaysia saw a proposal for a fifth power unit to be allowed this season, with the current regulations stating only four must be used for the 19 races. While the idea was provisionally agreed – with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner saying it's certain to go ahead – a number of other team bosses are more cautious about the idea.

The apparent driving force behind the change is to ensure there is more running during Friday practice for fans at the circuits, with teams having reduced their mileage in free practice so far this season in order to conserve the power units. However, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn wants guarantees any change is made for the right reasons.

"If that is something we believe will lead to more running on Friday, then I think we should do that," Kaltenborn said.

"If this is a measure for the show then word it also in such a way that this is for the show, but we shouldn’t try to use technical changes just to cater to specific wishes from some teams who might want an extra engine.

"So our position is we are supportive of measures which are good for the show. If this is good for the show then limit that benefit for the show to the Friday, but don’t use it just because somebody wants to get something out which is good for their overall technical situation, because that’s no good.

"Rules are rules, and if we have to change it for a specific purpose it should be tailor made for that purpose and not hide something else."

F1i has also learned a number of smaller teams are concerned about a potential increase in costs as a result of the change, although Horner says there would be no additional payments required.

For teams such as Red Bull and McLaren – among those who lost power units at the first round of the season – a fifth engine could offer the potential to avoid penalties later this year. F1i.com

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