Under the 2017 Formula One Sporting Regulations published on April 29th 2016, power unit manufacturers; Renault, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Ferrari ,must confirm to the sports governing body details of the teams they will supply power units to for the 2017 season no later than May 15th 2016 (the date of the Spanish GP), unless all parties agree to a later date.
This addition to the sporting regulations will put an end to protracted season long negotiations between teams and power unit suppliers as seen with Red Bull Racing through the 2015 season.
With a unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to submit this information to the FIA unlikely, Red Bull Racing have 11 days to finalise 2017 power unit supply plans. It is highly unlikely the addition of this requirement in the sporting regulations come as a surprise to the team, no doubt negotiations are well advanced if not an agreement already in place.
Given the improved reliability and performance Red Bull Racing have seen in the opening rounds of the 2016 season with the Tag Heuer branded Renault power unit a change in supplier is thought to be unlikely. Both parties have been keen to speak positivity around the partnership since the beginning of the the 2016 season.
Aside from Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso, & Sauber may also seek to change engine supply for 2017, any such change would require definition in accordance to the same May 15th deadline. Whilst the 2017 sporting regulations make no mention of manufacturers supplying 4 teams on the grid, it is not thought existing agreements of this nature will not longer be feasible, as such current Mercedes Benz customer agreements are unlikely to change.
However, in accordance to the 2017 sporting regulations, manufacturers are now mandated to facilitate supply 2.75 teams should it be required or requested. In the days following the Russian Grand Prix Honda have made it public that they are prepared to comply with this regulation and supply an additional two teams if requested. It is possible Honda may seek to expand its presence within the sport in future years with the rumoured exclusivity or veto clause McLaren hold over power unit supply nullified through this regulation development.
To review the 2017 Sporting & Technical Regulations in full follow this link.
Relevant Sporting Regulations Extract:
SUPPLY OF POWER UNITS FOR THE 2017-2020 CHAMPIONSHIP SEASONS
- ) No power unit may be used in a given Championship season unless the Power Unit Manufacturer supplying such power unit accepts and adheres to the following conditions.
Each of the Power Unit Manufacturers of an homologated power unit must :
- i) provide the FIA, before 15 May (or such other date as agreed in writing between all the Power Unit Manufacturers and the FIA) of the season preceding that in which such power units are to be supplied, with the list of teams (clearly identifying the appointed “works/factory” team, if any) to which a supply agreement has been concluded for the given Championship season ;
- ii) if called upon to do so by the FIA before 1 June (or such other date as agreed in writing between all the Power Unit Manufacturers and the FIA) of the season preceding that in which such power units were to be supplied, supply at least a number of teams (“T”) equal to the following equation :
T = 11-A/B-C
- – A = Total number of teams (including “works/factory” teams) having a supply agreement concluded for the given Championship season with a New Power Unit Manufacturer.
- – B = Total number of manufacturers of homologated Power Units for the given Championship season.
- – C = Total number of New Power Unit Manufacturers for the given Championship season.
provided that if the result contains a fraction then the fraction shall count as a full team (e.g. 11 teams divided by 4 manufacturers = 2.75, each manufacturer must, if called upon to do so by the FIA, supply at least 3 teams).