Ron Dennis says any change to F1's rules should be 'dramatic' and from 2017
McLaren chairman warns a 2016 overhaul would not be affordable
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 04/06/15 4:38pm
McLaren boss Ron Dennis believes that if Formula 1 is to change then it should be “dramatically” – although not until 2017.
F1's stakeholders have used recent meetings of the Strategy Group to discuss ways of making the sport more spectacular for fans with changes to the current turbo power unit regulations – including a potential return to powerful 1,000bhp engines – and more aggressive cars all ideas currently on the table for future years.
F1 made the biggest change to its engine regulations for a generation in 2014 in order to introduce more relevant technology, however the sharp rise in customer engine costs directly contributed to the financial problems of the grid’s smallest teams, with Marussia and Caterham plunged into administration.
With financial concerns continuing to prove a talking point in the build up to the new season, Dennis insists that 2016 would prove too soon for another major overhaul of the rules.
“If we’re going to change Formula 1, we should change it dramatically and therefore we should change it dramatically for 2017. Then it will be affordable,” the McLaren chairman said.
“If we dramatically try and change Formula 1 for 2016 the cost implications will be huge.”
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone recently remarked in an interview with Sky Sports News HQ that if he had one ‘wish’ for 2015 it would be to change the current engine formula.
McLaren have reunited with Honda engines this year with the Japanese manufacturer having previously made clear that they decided to return to F1 due the sport’s switch to greener, technologically advanced power units.
Asked how Honda would react to any subsequent change of regulations, Dennis replied: “We talk about it a lot and the philosophy we have is that as long as it’s a level playing field, we’ll do whatever’s best for Formula 1. We’ll follow.
“But obviously we’ll voice an opinion in that [discussion] as Honda and as McLaren.”
Following several failed attempts to introduce a cost cap into F1, Dennis added that teams themselves had to take responsibility for controlling their finances.
“It happens year on year on year: Formula 1 teams spend the money that they’ve got and they always will,” he added.
“They will find new ways to spend money that you wouldn’t even believe. So the actual cost constraint has to be exercised by the senior management of a Formula 1 team. The cost constraints cannot be managed by an outside entity.
“You’ve got to decide what you’re going to spend because it doesn’t matter what people impose on you, if you want to spend more money this is a sport that will absorb anything you want to spend on it.”
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary from all four days of both Barcelona tests. Sky Sports News HQ will also have live updates from trackside.