Jul.9 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Mercedes and Ferrari are hitting back at efforts to cap engine costs in formula one.

Teams struggling for mere survival, like Force India, Lotus and Sauber, currently pay hefty engine bills to the tune of EUR 17-22 million per season.

It is significantly more in the new ‘power unit’ era than they were paying in the V8-powered past.

“The engines are the most decisive cost driver,” agrees Sauber’s Monisha Kaltenborn.

She said that in the normally-aspirated era, F1 got the per-season cost down to about $14 million per season.

“We wanted to go further down and (instead) we’ve gone in the wrong direction,” Kaltenborn added.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, however, says the FIA has reacted to the problem and vowed to cap the engine cost for private teams at just $12m per season.

But Mercedes and Ferrari are fighting back.

“We take the FIA’s request seriously,” said team boss Toto Wolff. “The current price is calculated according to our original business model.

“If it is to go down now, we would need to sharpen our pencils again.”

And Ferrari’s Maurizio Arrivabene insisted: “We cannot ask for less than what it costs us.”

But the newly-knighted former Williams technical boss and co-owner Sir Patrick Head reportedly thinks the manufacturers’ prices are so high because they are recouping the cost of developing the new technology.

Kaltenborn said: “We never wanted these engines. It was the car manufacturers who wanted them so they were forced onto us. So they can’t charge us for the development costs as well.

“It is their image promotion, not ours,” she argues.