According to Rory Byrne, former chief designer of Ferrari, big manufacturers will lose incentive because of the introduction of standard engines
With an aim to reduce the operational costs in Formula One, a number of changes are likely to be introduced to the sport. One of the most contentious among them is that of standard engines, a move that would see all cars using the same engines. However, a majority of the top teams have expressed apprehension about this particular proposal. Rory Byrne, former chief designer at Ferrari, reasoned why the top manufacturers are against introducing standard engines.
Byrne, who was in Mumbai on Monday, told DNA that the issue was complex as well as tricky. "The difficulty lays in balancing the economic aspects with the technical ones. If you go to standard engines for everyone, you remove the incentive for lot of major manufacturers for wanting to participate in F1 because most of the manufacturer's input is largely on the engine side. A team like Honda, for example, uses F1 as a training ground for their engineers. With a standard engine, you have removed this possibility for them. Quite understandably top teams are going to be against it," he remarked.
Byrne said that it was not a question of merely putting a name tag of the engine maker on the cam cover. "I don't think it's fundamentally about public's perception. The manufacturer's involvement is largely on the engine side. They are not going to support the introduction of standard engine."
Byrne however said that the smaller teams were for standard engines as they were are easy to purchase and run.
Rory Byrne, who is one of the most successful designers in Formula One, believes the existence of small teams is crucial for Formula One and that rules should be made that allow these teams to compete.
Byrne dismissed suggestions that small teams are inconsequential. "First of all, if you take out small teams from the grid, it would be less of a spectacle. Also, it isn't that small teams have not performed. This year, one such team won a race from pole position," Byrne remarked. He was referring to the brilliant performance of Scuderia Toro Rosso this year.
However, Byrne believes it is not only the car's performance that matters. Having worked with the likes of Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, he knows the amount of difference a driver can make. "The increased sophistication has meant that the driver's element is changing. With such powerful data acquisition techniques, you don't have to rely on drivers for their inputs. And yet, a driver's ability becomes more important since he needs to be aware of how the car works and what he should be done in order to optimise the performance."
Byrne said that in the next few years F1 cars would be undergoing drastic changes as far as its design and operation is concerned. "Environmental concerns and cost reduction would mean that by 2011, there will be a 20 to 30 per cent in fuel consumption while by 2015, the reduction will be by 50 per cent," he said.
Byrne, who was a part of FIA appointed committee to suggest design changes in order to facilitate overtaking, said that he had recommended an increase in mechanical grip and reduction of aerodynamic grip. "When these changes come in to effect, the cars will look completely different," he said.