Ferrari has had a storied history in Formula 1 racing. They took the constructors and drivers titles last year and have been the most dominant force in F1 for some time now. In fact, to hear a road-going Ferrari engine at full song is to hear the high-pitched sounds of Formula 1. But now Ferrari is threatening to pull out of Formula 1 with the latest news of a proposed "spec engine" being implemented into the sport.
A spec engine would be an engine that all teams must use, regardless of whether or not they can make their own engines. This idea was brought forth by FIA (Federation Internationale de Automobile) president Max Mosley in an attempt to reduce the staggering costs of running an F1 team for a season. It reportedly costs an average of 100 million euros per season!
Ferrari’s argument is quite sound though. Formula 1 is first and foremost an arena for technological development, and many of the roadgoing innovations we use today were developed first in Formula 1. Crumple zones, disc brakes, ABS and traction control were all developed in the realm of Formula 1 and we all benefit from the technology today. Ferrari says that if this is no longer the reason for F1 than they would, frankly, rather not be a part of it.
A spec engine would ultimately halt future engine development. But Max Mosley’s points are also worth looking into. He reckons that now, Formula 1 is too busy developing technology that only benefits Formula 1 and racing. Things like ultra-fast engine speeds, exotic lightweight gearboxes and Formula 1 aerodynamics only benefit F1, and will probably never get down to the consumer. By concentrating on things like regenerative braking technology and regenerative heat technology, Formula 1 can benefit consumers by creating more efficient solutions to our transportation needs. At least that is the idea anyways.
Then again this is, first and foremost, a sport. Competition has to be above development. Isn’t that why car companies already spend billions of dollars on research and development anyways? Though it is important to let Formula 1 influence roadgoing cars, thats not what it’s really for. Formula 1 without Ferrari would just be another racing series, and Ferrari without Formula 1 would just be another fancy exotic supercar.