Martin Whitmarsh has revealed he is not surprised to hear about 2014 engine supplier Pure’s problems.
The McLaren boss and current FOTA chairman said he expects there to be just three engine manufacturers – Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari – supplying turbo V6 engines in 2014. There had already been doubts in the paddock that HRT and Marussia’s V8 supplier, the British independent Cosworth, may not be in a position to supply engines in 2014 as per the radical new regulations.
And it emerged recently that Pure, the 2014 engine supplier set up by BAR founder Craig Pollock, has paused its operations for financial reasons.
Whitmarsh told Germany’s motorsport-total.com that it was “foreseeable”.
“For me it’s no big surprise,” he said, referring to Pure.
But even though F1 looks set to be left with just three engine suppliers for its 12 teams, Whitmarsh insisted: “As far as I know, Renault is willing to supply up to seven teams.”
And he said Ferrari and Mercedes may also be willing to increase their number of customers.
So Whitmarsh explained that, assuming all 12 teams enter the 2014 championship, there will be a “solution” in the event that are only three engine suppliers.
One solution, he said, is that V8 engines be still allowed on the 2014 grid, so long as their performance is made equal to the V6s.
“That would be feasible,” admitted Whitmarsh, “(although) personally I don’t think it’s an attractive solution.”
Craig Pollock’s ‘Pure’ company has paused its operations, the German website motorsport-total and journalists Dieter Rencken and Stefan Ziegler have revealed.
Pollock, formerly the founder of Brackley based BAR and Jacques Villeneuve’s manager, announced last year he intended to supply ‘Propulsion Universelle et Recuperation d’Energie’ (Pure)-branded engines to formula one customers for the 2014 V6 regulations.
The company set up camp at Toyota’s Cologne headquarters earlier this year. But the project, which also involves former Ferrari and FIA engine boss Gilles Simon, has hit a financial roadblock, the German-language report said.
A key investor pulled out a month ago, and now Pure will have to move out of Cologne, where it utilised office space, a workshop and engine test stands.
Simon informed Pure’s partners and suppliers of the unfortunate development by email, explaining a financing problem.
Motorsport-total.com said Pollock confirmed the news.
“The situation is very simple,” he is quoted as saying. “The investor is from the United States.”
He went on to explain that Pure needs financing to come from Europe in order to satisfy Swiss tax rules.
“Until now we’ve been manufacturing parts and assembling engines in Cologne, but as of today, all of this has stopped,” said Pollock.
He said he is expecting new European-based finance to be in place by “the end of the month”.
Customer engines will be much more expensive in 2014.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that, for example, Sauber currently spends EUR 8 million on its Ferrari engine, and another million for KERS. But for 2014, with F1 switching to ‘green’ turbo V6 power, the price is reportedly going up to between EUR 18-23 million.
Offering the best price is Craig Pollock’s new venture Pure, who are asking EUR 14 million for the Gilles Simon-designed engine-plus-KERS package.
“Even that is too expensive,” Sauber managing director Monisha Kaltenborn said.