Brawn engine aid plan no free pass

Bayden Westerweller Roar Guru

By , Bayden Westerweller is a Roar Guru

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    Formula One: All about that cash. (Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool)

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    In light of Honda’s ongoing turmoil, Ross Brawn’s concession that incoming engine manufacturers may require concessions carries the right intentions.

    However, it shouldn’t be read as an incentive for prospective entrants to jump into Formula One without conducting due diligence.

    Brawn opines that those who join the sport following the next set of regulations – tentatively commencing in 2021, will require a helping hand as they find their feet, lest discover themselves in a similar situation to Honda, with little avenue to reduce the deficit.

    “Under the new regulations, we’ll have to give consideration to new manufacturers who join after the start date… they might need additional support initially”, the Briton remarked to Autosport, which is undoubtedly music to the ears of those currently leaning on the fence.

    An individual as learned as Brawn isn’t one to speak out short of a deeply considered insight, and while posing queries as to how this would be administered, it’s difficult to dismiss his suggestion.

    Drawing on the dormant ‘token’ system, Brawn’s offering that “perhaps a new entrant might get more development tokens for the first couple of years”, is simple enough in theory, though should by no means be interpreted as a free ride to the top.

    Falling into the trap of believing victories and titles are a matter of turning up, therein lies the possibility of ill advised entrants creating a mockery of the system, and by extension the sport, thus it shouldn’t be an excuse to cut corners on feasibility studies.

    Honda’s reluctance to embrace aid at Brawn’s behest in recent months has already undermined the notion. Notwithstanding cultural motives, if a situation is as diabolical as the Japanese manufacturer’s, yet assistance is spurned, when will others feel compelled to raise their hand?

    A forgiving individual, Brawn insists the ‘olive branch’ stands, and pragmatically contends that any belated acceptance, an unlikely ‘mercy’ plea, won’t prejudice the equality of the competition, which has been condensed in the engine stakes this season – save for Honda, which is as far behind as it has been at any point since its’ return in 2015.

    “I’m not proposing that I go in and tell Honda how they should design their engine”, on which Brawn would be advised to make good to save all parties a lot of time, though if a request does come to pass, “and it was something within our capability… not something that would create unfair competition, then we would help”, there would be some food for thought as a template for future entrants.

    The convergence of power between manufacturers to a breadth of 0.3 seconds has been a priority under Formula One’s liberated regime, and if FIA is to be believed, this has already occurred, while Brawn pertinently surmises that engines must be championed as a “performance differentiator”, without becoming the “dominant factor.”

    As such, on which laurels would a supplier rest entering the sport on a whim, with no defined philosophy, content to ride their luck utilising the undetermined concessions as a means to an end?

    Manufacturers must invest for the right reasons, accompanied by their unique DNA, and if McLaren’s experience with Honda isn’t a cautionary tale, nothing will be. Underlying goodwill and living off past glories doesn’t cut it, especially at the cost of betraying their integrity, the reason they exist and go racing in the first instance.

    Appetising it might be to contemplate Cosworth’s return or Aston Martin and Audi’s entry, though it mustn’t be a case of fronting in anticipation of a dynasty. It’d be unfair to the sport, the fans, though most importantly themselves, thus any presence must be treated with utmost respect.

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