Lauda insists ‘no fifth engine’ in 2015 image

May 5 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Drivers will not be allowed to use a fifth ‘power unit’ in 2015 and escape penalty, according to Niki Lauda.

That is despite Red Bull team boss Christian Horner saying less than two weeks ago that the change to the ‘four engines per season’ rule had been agreed “unanimously” in March.

“That was all the teams, including Bernie Ecclestone,” he said, adding that the matter only had to be rubber-stamped through a formal fax vote.

But it seems Mercedes has changed its mind.

“There will be no fifth engine,” team chairman and F1 legend Lauda told the Austrian news agency APA.

“You cannot change the regulations in the middle of a season,” he insisted.

The obvious conclusion is that, fearing the challenge posed by a resurgent Ferrari, Mercedes is exercising its right to veto the tweak so as to protect its advantage with the best and most reliable turbo V6 on the grid.

Former two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen was asked by Spanish reporters on Monday if he thinks the rules should be changed in order to spice up the sport in light of Mercedes’ dominance.

“That’s a difficult question,” the Finn is quoted by the sports daily Marca, “as I am an ambassador for Mercedes.

“If there are teams that are not so close to them, it is difficult but not impossible to catch them, as Ferrari is showing,” Hakkinen added.

So for now, Mercedes is the master of the current ‘four engines per season’ formula — and still with performance development ‘tokens’ up its sleeve.

“Our plan (for Barcelona) is that we will use the same version (of the engine) as we did in the first four races,” a team spokesman confirmed to Brazil’s Globo.