FIA hands Mercedes ‘get out of jail free’ card if Silver Arrows slip further behind in championship race

FIA head of single-seaters Nikolas Tombazis is pleased with how the engine freeze has made it a far more even playing field this year.

Tombazis believes that the power units of teams are largely similar this year and that is a direct result of the engine freeze that has come into effect.

The engine regulations being frozen means that Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have all developed their power units in an equal amount of time.

Till these restrictions are lifted in 2026, they will continue to at least enjoy a base power unit that is quite similar to each other.

Engine performance upgrades will be tougher and for some teams, this may have been be very tough news to digest.

It does, after all, mean that they will have lesser opportunity to catch up with their rivals.

However, Tombazkis was assured in his belief that the FIA would not allow for any manufacturer to get left too far behind if they got their plans wrong before the freeze.

FIA dangles carrot in front of Mercedes

Mercedes. Credit:

He argued that it is in the best interest of the sport that all 10 teams can compete with each other, at least to some extent.

“None of the four manufacturers have problems at the moment, the performance is similar,” Tombazis said.

“When we discussed introducing the freeze, we determined that, if one was in difficulty, everyone would engage in good faith to discuss how to solve the problem, perhaps allowing for some development. There is no interest in sentencing someone to be left behind for four years.”

Mercedes has struggled for straight-line speed so far this season and Tombazis’ words will come as welcome relief to the team.

McLaren, Williams and Aston Martin have also seemed to struggle in the early part of this season.

FIA is keen to see new teams enter

Nikolas Tombazis. Credit:

Tombazis insisted that FIA’s priority currently was to attract teams like Volkswagen to the sport. For that, they were actively looking for a new engine formula.

Volkswagen has, if reports are to be believed, given the green light to both Audi and Porsche to make an F1 entry.

Tombazis agreed that the engine freeze was not an ideal solution from the FIA, but it was a measure that they had to take.

“It’s not ideal to freeze engines for a long time, but we had to do it because it would have been unsustainable for the manufacturers to develop these units and the ones that will be introduced in 2026,” he said.

Read more: Is Nico Hulkenberg targeting a full-time driver’s role after admirable performance despite ‘no experience’ in AMR22?

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