The addition of a fifth engine to the current allocation of four now looks unlikely, with Mercedes set to veto the change according to Niki Lauda.
It had been agreed in Malaysia – unanimously according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner – that a fifth engine would be added to the regulations, meaning a driver wouldn’t face a penalty until they were forced to use a sixth unit.
“That was all the teams, including Bernie Ecclestone,” said Horner just two weeks ago.
Lauda however insists that rules simply can’t be changed part way through a season and Mercedes are therefore likely to veto the change.
“There will be no fifth engine,” he told the Austrian news agency APA. “You cannot change the regulations in the middle of a season.”
The decision to use its veto power is likely a strategic tactic in its fight against Ferrari. Mercedes’ unit is known to be reliable, and whilst Ferrari are yet to suffer any serious problems with their own, it could play into the Anglo-German outfit’s hands later in the season.