Budkowski calls for new talks regarding engine penalties

Date published: November 3 2021 - Henry Valantine

Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski. Monza September 2021.

Marcin Budkowski believes that F1 teams and the FIA need to come together to find a way to reduce the amount of grid penalties being taken.

Budkowski argues that the limits on power unit components are too restricting, with teams allowed to use three turbochargers, internal combustion engines, MGU-H and MGU-K units, as well as two energy stores and control electronics units to use across the entire season.

However, with at least 10 drivers having taken grid penalties in the last three races for using extra components above the allocation, as well as an ever-enlarging calendar, the Alpine executive director believes the power unit allocation should be higher to enable fewer grid penalties to take place.

“If we had four and three rather than three and two we would see rather fewer penalties,” Budkowski told reporters, quoted by GPFans.

“But equally then would people design engines and take more risks, and would they have to introduce a fifth one. It’s never-ending – you have to draw the line somewhere.

“Arguably four and three would be more adapted to this season, we would have seen fewer penalties.

“But it’s a debate we need to have in the F1 Commission and those kinds of institutions to where do we want to place the cursor.”

When asked if Formula 1 is ‘ruining the show’ by placing these penalties on drivers and teams, Budkowski added: “It’s a subjective point.

“Some people hate grid penalties. I haven’t met a fan of grid penalties yet.

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, Alpine, battle at the Dutch GP. September 2021.

“But having been on the other side of the fence at the FIA [as head of F1’s technical department], and then with a team, I looked for years for an alternative better than the current one and I haven’t found one, [but] it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has also voiced his opinion surrounding the way penalties are implemented, given Valtteri Bottas’ recent penalty problems for having new internal combustion engines fitted to his car.

The Finn took a 10-place penalty in Turkey, but another new ICE in Austin cost him only five places on the grid, which Wolff attributed to an “anti-embarrassment” rule put in place when Honda had continued issues powering McLaren several years ago.

 

Wolff also feels that rules surrounding engine penalties need to be addressed, but he doesn’t have a solution to mind himself yet.

“I think the penalty system on power units is pretty robust,” said Wolff. “What we need to avoid is we are building power units that, in a way, they perform for only a few races.

“If you changed the regulations in a way and said there was no grid penalty for the drivers but only [the loss of] Constructors’ points, it would still mean that if you are in a fight for the Drivers’ Championship you would just throw engines at that car.

“If we come up with good solutions then it’s definitely worth looking at.”