Scuderia Toro Rosso will contest the 2016 Formula 1 season with one-year-old Ferrari power units after the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved its application to do so.
The Faenza-based outfit has had an agreement in place with Ferrari to secure the use of older-spec power units, but could not get the agreement ratified until its future in Formula 1 – governed by the team’s owner, Red Bull – was guaranteed.
Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has threatened almost all season to pull both of his teams from Formula 1, which all bore from his frustrations with both Toro Rosso and the senior Red Bull Racing squads’ lack of competitiveness under Renault power. His threats were ultimately meaningless unless he was willing to pay upwards of half a billion dollars in penalties for terminating his teams’ agreements with Formula One Management.
So both teams will remain on the grid. It is expected that Red Bull Racing will run rebranded Renault engines that it will develop in-house, while Scuderia Toro Rosso will revert to Ferrari, with whom it partnered between 2007-2013.
With Ferrari unable to supply – and Toro Rosso unable to afford – the latest 2016-spec engines, the arrangement needed to be rubber-stamped by the FIA as the current rules do not permit for an engine manufacturer to supply two distinct engine models.
“Power Units (PU) homologated in previous seasons may now be re-homologated. Previously no manufacturer could supply more than one specification of PU,” the FIA statement reads.
“The World Motor Sport Council was also advised that the FIA had agreed for Ferrari to supply a fourth customer team with a 2015-specification Power Unit in 2016.”
With the FIA giving the green light to the engine rules relaxation, Toro Rosso is expected to join Sauber and the new-for-2016 Haas F1 Team as Ferrari customer constructors.
The Italian team, which finished seventh in the 2015 Constructors’ Championship standings, is expected to officially confirm its Ferrari deal in due course.
It should be noted that the precedent to run different power unit models was granted earlier this year. The FIA previously gave an exception for the Manor F1 Team to run with 2014-spec Ferrari power units throughout the 2015 season; next year the backmarker outfit will switch to Mercedes power units.
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