Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has lashed out at Formula 1's engine rules for the 2018 season, claiming that the world championship may be decided on engine penalties. While drivers were allowed use four power units throughout 2017, that figure drops to three for the upcoming season.
Some components of the engine will be cut to just two units for the whole of the year. Throughout 2017, many fans complained about engine penalties, especially when it affected front-running drivers. The McLaren pair of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were the worst affected, picking up nearly 400 grid penalties due to an unreliable Honda unit.
Horner believes that there will even more penalties during the upcoming season, and says it could play a major role in the fight for the title: "There will be plenty of grid penalties in 2018. What you'd hate to see is a championship decided on grid penalties. Getting to the point with three engines in 21 races, it is nuts really.
"Contrary to whatever Toto [Wolff] says, his non-executive chairman [Niki Lauda] was arguing for four engines earlier in the year because it is a false economy. Those engines go on a world tour, they are here anyway, and for more races, less engines, it as I say a false economy, and it would be horrible to see a championship decided on engine penalties."
Instead of reducing the number of components allowed throughout the year, Horner believes that it should be raised to five. 2018 will see a 21-race calendar and the Brit would prefer to see more engine components allowed, as was the case in 2016.
"You're still burning these engines up on the dyno, but the reality is it doesn't save any money," Horner told Channel 4. "These grid penalties, I don't think anybody particularly likes seeing them to the extent that they're happening at the moment.
"We want to see the guys out on the track. Obviously don't throw caution to the wind with costs, but for me five engines for a 21-race championship would be a more sensible and logical number," he concluded.