Formula 1’s future direction will be shaped by two crucial meetings and team bosses are eager to see what the sport’s new bosses have in mind.
New owners Liberty’s concept for the 2021 engine will be presented at a gathering in Paris on Tuesday, which will be attended by teams and current and potential suppliers.
Next week, a regular Strategy Group meeting – where the top six teams can vote and the rest are present as observers – will cover other key issues such as reining in spending.
F1 team bosses have acknowledged that these meetings are important, but stress that there is a long way to go.
“It’s just the beginning of a process,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Motorsport.com. “We haven’t heard anything directly, and we’re keen to hear that, and we’ll take it from there. We’d like to have a sustainable business case for the teams.”
“Liberty they own the show and they have to decide where they want to go,” said McLaren’s Eric Boullier.
“I think this is what we expect, these two meetings, to have a clear direction, a clear showing of what they want to achieve in the medium and long term future, and have something where we can move forward and not go backwards.”
This week’s meeting follows earlier gatherings where ideas were discussed with engine specialists.
Teams insist that they have yet to be given a definitive picture of the proposed engine regulations.
However, it’s been made clear that the current hybrid V6 will be used as a starting point, with less technology, and a focus on reducing development costs and improving the sound.
“So far the teams haven’t been invited to the engine meetings,” said Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe.
“They’ve been conducted with the manufacturers and prospective manufacturers. So this is the first meeting to which the teams have been invited.
“So we’re quite blind around it, we’re hoping to be a lot more enlightened after Tuesday. So we don’t really know what will be discussed. Nothing we’ve heard is very firm, it’s all very loose, so we don’t read too much into it.”
“I have no idea what to expect,” said Force India’s Bob Fernley. “Everyone is completely in the dark until we get it presented.
“I hope it simplifies the engine and gets rid of things that are not really useful, because we are doing things which are not really useful for the automobile industry. Simplify it, get the costs down, and open the door up for other manufacturers to come in.”
Red Bull’s Christian Horner is not anticipating to hear full technical details, and expects the meeting to spark a debate that could last for a while.
“It is not really a technical discussion, it is a presentation as to what their plans are,” he said. “The process after that presentation is probably a lot of filibustering. I think it is more ‘This is our intention, this is what we want to do.’
“I don’t think there will be details, because I don’t think they want people to start committing development spend, but I think there will be a proposal of the direction that things are heading for 2021 and the parameters that they are looking at. So I think it will be a very interesting discussion.”