Force India in favour of current engine penalties

Date published: September 5 2017

Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer believes the current engine penalty system is fair, saying it "removes the incentive" for richer teams to throw money at new engine components.

There are strong calls for the system to be changed and Ross Brawn confirmed last week that F1 chiefs and the FIA are in dialogue over trying to find a better solution.

But Szafnauer would be more than happy to keep the current system in place if another alternative cannot be found.

"If we had an unlimited amount of money, I'd agree with Ross," said Szafnauer.

"Let everyone spend what they want. Then it's a whole different formula.

"But you can't say we have to control costs but not have this kind of stuff because they are incongruent those two statements. We have to remember why they are there and one of the reasons was cost saving.

"In the old days, before we had a set number of engines per driver you can use, you could use one engine per race and that cost a lot of money.

"Next year we go to three engines per driver. How do you remove the incentive to say well I don't care if it's three, I have the money to spend so I'll do six?

"One way to do it is grid penalties. They remove the incentive to spend money on engine development.

"If there is a better way to do it, I'm all for it. When the rules were written, that was the best way."

Only Lewis Hamilton started in his actual qualifying position for the Italian Grand Prix, but Force India technical director Andy Green welcomed the mixed-up grid and believes it created a better spectacle.

He said: "What is wrong with having grid penalties and mixing the grid up? It's something we always talk about, trying to make a better show.

"You've just had it and now everyone is complaining the grid is mixed up. Make your mind up guys. What do you want? Who won driver of the day? Ricciardo.

"Where did he start? Towards the back with grid penalties. It was the best drive this afternoon. Tell me that is wrong. I don't think so."