Fans Prompted FIA On Customer Engine Parity

The culprit has been revealed! It was the innocent, humble and Formula 1-loving fans who prompted the FIA to look into engine parity for customer teams. I really wish it was! I can’t believe that on the eve of the second pre-season test, who raised the question to the FIA gained more importance than why was this prompting done this late into the hybrid turbo era?
Mercedes vehemently denied that it was one of their customers (Williams or Force India) that prompted the FIA to look into engine parity for customer teams. Williams were quick to respond that it wasn’t them and that they were pleased with Mercedes’ fair treatment with their hardware and software (BS!). Then of course, this tweet created some interest on which customer team actually prompted the FIA to go do their work – basically keep the competition in Formula 1 fair and healthy!
The key question is – why did the FIA be have to be prompted? They should have done it anyway. For Formula 1, for its fans.

It is disappointing that ‘customer engine parity’ was brought to discussion only after one of the teams tipped off the FIA. Isn’t this something that the FIA should ensure for the betterment of the sport? Else Formula 1 could be reduced to a Ferrari vs. Mercedes only series – one that would be terrible for the sport and its business. I’ve said this before and I would say it again – two manufacturers (Ferrari and Mercedes) are controlling the competitive quotient of the grid, or they did till at least last season. Christian Horner’s recent comments on Ferrari and Mercedes working as ‘one team’ fall in the same realm. The iconic car manufacturers want to ensure that competition remains lopsided in the sport and they are able to rake in all the moolah, publicity and wins. If they had Formula 1 (and hence our) best interests in mind, why would they argue and issue quit threats for changing the rules to make the sport more fair and competitive?
I would echo similar sentiments for when it was revealed earlier this year that cars could undergo bodywork changes at the request of sponsors who are seeking better visibility for their logos. In similar vein, fans would like to seek bodywork changes to have better wheel-to-wheel racing all along the grid rather than split the current grid into four tiers – top teams, best of the rest, mid-field and the bottom!
Also, the FIA should have a system where fans are able to prompt them on competition issues that they should look into. I am not sure if such a system is already in place, but if it is, it is time to publicise it. Let the fans be involved more than just the annual global fan survey! But of course, the FIA should be ready to then accept fans’ messages on how to swap the power units with engines, bring back the grunt and noise, reintroduce re-fuelling, replace Marcus Ericsson and maybe even go and buyout Formula E. But maybe that’s the cost one needs to pay if you need to be reminded to do your job…
We had Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon on the Inside Line F1 Podcast last week. Here are the interview episodes for your listening.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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