F1 ARRIVES IN JAPAN: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso signs an autograph at the Suzuka Circuit ahead of the 2014 Japanese GP. Paddock rumours suggest the struggling driver could be replaced. Image: AP/ Shizuo Kambayashi
TOKYO, Japan - Ferrari is continuing to argue for a relaxation of the so-called engine 'freeze'.
With Mercedes dominating in the new turbo V6 era, F1's engine makers will get a chance to upgrade up to 48% of 'power units' ahead of 2015.
Ferrari in particular has argued that the freeze should be further relaxed, for example by allowing at least one mid-season performance step.
'IT WOULD NOT COST MORE'
When the topic arose at the 2014 Singapore GP in September, Mercedes understandably argued that it should be voted down on the basis that it will only drive up costs.
Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci hit back at the counter-arguments: "It would not cost more money because the scale of the development remains the same."
Customer teams have also argued that even if the extra development is allowed, any cost increases should not be passed onto the already high price of their 'power units'.
Mattiacci said: "If you are a customer and you have to stay with the same engine from the end of February, then you have little chance to improve yourself.
"At the end that can cost you even more money."
Mattiacci insists Ferrari made the proposal not for the benefit of Maranello or fellow engine straggler Renault, but for F1 as a whole.
He said: "We stand by it because it is good for the sport. For Ferrari it is an opportunity but also a risk. Maybe Mercedes will develop their engine even better. It is not a unilateral advantage for us.
"At the moment the work of the engineers and suppliers is focused on the winter months. But F1 should be about constant innovation."
Mattiacci said the freeze is also bad for the fans, with a static balance of power affecting the "entertainment on the track".
F1 'SILLY SEASON'
Elsewhere in the Suzuka paddock on Thursday (October 2), the 2015 driver 'silly season' continued to bubble away.
The big player is Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, and 'academy' driver Jules Bianchi - currently placed at Marussia - put his hand up to potentially replace the wavering veteran.
Bianchi said: "It (moving to Ferrari) looks like the logical step for me if something like this (Alonso's departure) happens."
Also linked with replacing the frustrated Alonso at Ferrari is Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, but he opted to divert attention to another big name on Thursday (Oct 2).
Vettel said: "I think (it's a question) probably more for Jenson (Button); he already has 17 team mates for 2015."
BUTTON TO LEAVE?
McLaren's Button, however, is also waiting on Alonso, who according to speculation is considering a sensational switch to lead the British team's new Honda era.
That could leave Button, or his rookie team mate Kevin Magnussen, out in the cold.
When asked about the situation ahead of the 2014 Japanese GP, Button said: "I don't know. As you know I can't discuss anything to do with the contract."
He admitted only that staying at McLaren remained his "best option" for the future.
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Japanese GP weekend