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No agreement over new F1 engine regulations yet

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Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner says that Formula 1 risks sticking with its current engine regulations if the teams cannot come to an agreement over changes that should be made.

The FIA has been pushing to revise the engine regulations for coming years in a bid to reduce costs, improve the sound, and address supply concerns and performance disparity.

However, with some kind of agreement between the teams required to push through any change, Horner revealed that the proposed aims are still far from being achieved with a deadline of April 30 fast approaching.

“I think it’s a complex situation, but fundamentally there were four criteria that were requested by the governing body to be met to ensure stability moving forward,” Horner said.

“Those four criteria were: a significant reduction in cost to €12 million, the availability of supply or the guarantee of supply, power convergence to within a relatively small bandwidth and to address the noise.

“As we sit here now we are not anywhere near having met any of those criteria and I think unfortunately what will happen, as is often the case with these things, time will run out at the end of the month and nothing will be achieved and nothing will change.

“There is one more attempt in the Strategy meeting and the Commission meeting at the end of the month to discuss and table the concerns and where we’re at, but failing that regulations will inevitably stay as they are.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also explained the complexity of negotiations, but said that efforts would be made to ensure that some kind of agreement is struck.

“We have been given the task in coming up with solutions so that no team is left without an engine,” Wolff said.

“I think all the engine manufacturers have acknowledged that, so we try to cover that. There is an aspect of price reduction, which is important to most of the teams, and we tried to cover that in the framework agreement.

“Obviously it’s very difficult to make everybody happy. Christian isn’t so happy. But I think we need to come up with a solution until the end of April.

“We need to ratify those regulations and at the moment everybody is working very hard to at least find the smallest common denominator.”

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.