Engine homologation in F1 has been a bit of a black art. The teams were allowed to make ‘reliability upgrades’ to their cars, but those upgrades have increased engine performance. So much so that Renault was allowed to make special engine upgrades during the offseason to catch up.
New concerns over the performance level of the engines have come up, with many in the paddock saying that the Mercedes engine is at a very clear advantage, especially after their performance at Monza.
The FIA has responded to requests from FOTA to look at engine performance, but not in the way that everyone thought it would happen. Maybe the teams were hoping the FIA would allow everyone deemed at a disadvantage to make upgrades to match the level of the Mercedes engines, but the FIA has nixed that idea.
The FIA says the following:
Following suggestions that there is a differential between the performance of engines used in Formula 1, the World Motor Sport Council has decided that should this be the case, and should the teams wish to eliminate this performance differential, they may be allowed to do so by reducing the performance of the more powerful engines. However, no engine upgrades will be allowed.
The FIA is hoping that the teams agree to this proposal. I think it fair to call this statement the “Cosworth Clause”. By all reports, the 2010 Cosworth is a dog when it comes to power and fuel efficiency. This can be seen by the FIA’s insistence that the Cosworth be allowed a different rev limit (20,000 rpm compared to the current 18,000 rpm) but FOTA would not allow it.
Clearly the FIA does not want their new pet teams (USF1, Manor, Campos and Malaysia/Lotus) to be at a severe disadvantage in their first season, so their desire is that the teams accept this proposal and detune their engines to the level of the dog Cosworth.
Sad! Shall we call this series Spec1, because clearly it doesn’t deserve the F1 title anymore.