Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Thursday, September 17.
Thursday morning's Formula 1 news roundup:
Jean Todt says he hopes Volkswagen is contemplating a move into Formula 1.
Late last month, and although VW brands Audi and Porsche are in Formula E, Volkswagen chief Herbert Diess said F1 with "synthetic fuels" would be "a much more exciting and fun tech-competition than Formula E".
FIA president Todt told Auto Motor und Sport that Formula 1's plans to introduce 'e-fuels' in 2023 would even pave the way for better engine regulations.
"If we succeed in using e-fuels from 2023, we will also be flexible in our choice of engine architecture," he said. "Then you can also think about a less complex engine, as long as it remains efficient."
The Frenchman admitted that he had seen Diess' recent comments about a potential future in that sort of Formula 1 for Volkswagen.
"I heard about it, but not from Mr Diess personally," said Todt. "That's why I want to be careful with my own comments. I don't know whether he really said it in that way.
"If he did, I can only say to him: Welcome to Formula 1."
Todt has been criticised by some for campaigning to slash costs in Formula 1, and there are those who still think axing the loud V8 engines of the past was a major mistake.
"Over time, our cars and the world around us changed completely," he said.
"You can like today's engines or not. But we would not have survived without hybridisation."
Todt also insists that F1's astronomical costs had to be attacked.
"I've just been to Indianapolis and I saw good motorsport," he said. "Some teams there get by on $8 million."
And so, Todt says unlimited testing, a tyre war, and an unfettered technological race in F1 would "kill the sport" if they returned.
He also defended the decision to charge any new teams to Formula 1 a whopping $200 million fee, to be evenly distributed among the existing ten teams.
"I would rather have twelve teams than ten," he said. "But for the moment this fee is a kind of guarantee that an applicant is also serious.
"Once the new system with the budget cap has been consolidated, we can talk about whether we want to top up the club."
Red Bull must supply Max Verstappen with "a competitive engine" in order to keep him at the team beyond 2021.
That is the surprising admission of Dr Helmut Marko, even though in the opening days of this year, the team announced that it had signed a deal with the Dutch driver through 2023.
After back to back Honda-related failures at both Monza and Mugello, Verstappen did not hide that his earlier optimistic and patient attitude may be changing.
"Hopefully next year we will be closer to Mercedes," he told Ziggo Sport.
"I don't think we will be able to win. Due to the coronavirus, we can't make many changes to the car, so I hope that the regulations for the 2022 season will be a new beginning.
"But if we are so far away, this will not happen. We still want to win every weekend, but this championship is over," Verstappen added.
The 22-year-old also described his back to back failures in the past two races as "unacceptable".
"Honda has made progress," Red Bull top official Marko told Sport1, "but Mercedes is still superior in the area of the batteries.
"We have to improve now," he added. "Honda has replaced some engineers, so perhaps that is why the unexpected difficulties arose."
Currently, Honda is committed to Formula 1 only for the 2021 season, and some are tipping the Japanese manufacturer to pull out after that.
"The decision should be made at the beginning of October," Marko admitted.
If Honda does go, that could trigger an exit clause in Verstappen's contract, which is thought to guarantee a works engine.
"Actually, Max has a fixed contract for 2021," said Marko. "But we are well aware that we have to provide him with a competitive engine."
More news from Formula 1:
No FIA penalty for Hamilton over political t-shirt
The FIA has backed away from issuing a potential penalty to Lewis Hamilton over his wearing of a politically-themed t-shirt on the Mugello podium. Read more.
F2 driver opposed to 'young driver test' for Alonso
Formula 2 driver Louis Deletraz admits he is opposed to Fernando Alonso being invited to take part in F1's 'young driver test' in Abu Dhabi later this year. Read more.