F1 team bosses see no alternative to penalties for engine starters

Penalty shootouts have become a topic of conversation again this year, as title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both brought fourth engines and the associated deficit on the starting line-up.

Many observers fear that a further change and thus a penalty for both men in the last five races of the season could have a decisive impact on the fight for the title.

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff argues it would be difficult to have a system that only punishes the team and not the driver.

“I think the engine penalty system is pretty robust,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com if it was time to rethink the concept of starter penalties.

“Because what we have to avoid is that we build engines in such a way that they only deliver top performance for a few races.

“And if you change the regulations and say, okay, there is no grid penalty for the driver, just constructor points, that still means that when you are fighting for a driver’s championship, teams just throw engines at them.” this car.

“I think if we find good solutions it is definitely worth taking a look. It’s confusing to the new fans why an engine penalty out of the driver’s responsibility brings him to the bottom of the grid, or 10 or five places away. ” And that’s clearly not great, but I don’t have any solutions. “

Red Bull, which will become an engine manufacturer after leaving Honda after 2021, is not a fan of the three-engine limit per season.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Like Wolff, McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl warned that raising the limit would only encourage manufacturers to push the limits further.

“I understand, of course, that having all these penalties is not ideal,” he said when asked about the issue by Motorsport.com.

“But to be honest, I don’t see a really easy solution to this because if you decide, for example, we’ll use four engines instead of three. In the end, we’ll all end up with five engines because we’d just rev up the engines.” . “

“In the end, it just shows that all the manufacturing teams push each other so hard that we all push the technology we’re using to the absolute limit or beyond, and that ends up in problems or problems. So we have to just do it, accept that for the moment, and get on with it. “

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, whose organization will become an engine manufacturer with the takeover of the Honda project in 2022, considers the current limit to be too low.

“I’ve never been a fan of two or three engines,” added Horner. “For me you use four pretty much in one season anyway. So we have to be careful in the future.

“I mean, there is talk of reducing it to two engines, which I think would be a mistake. So it has to be a reasonable balance.”

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