By Alan Baldwin
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Red Bull team principal Christian Horner fears Formula One could be forced into a 'ridiculous' spending race from 2016 if the engine rules are not relaxed for next season.
Weekend talks at the Brazilian Grand Prix failed to reach any agreement between dominant Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda on allowing some in-season development on the new V6 turbo hybrid power units.
Any changes to the sport's technical regulations must be agreed unanimously for 2015 but can be pushed through on a majority vote for 2016 and beyond.
"With a majority vote, 2016/17/18 can be opened, so we will have to face the pain in 2015 to open it up in 2016/17/18," Horner told reporters at Interlagos.
"Which is ridiculous because we will all end up spending a lot more money over a longer period of time, whereas what should happen is that a window should be opened to allow Renault, Ferrari and Honda to try to close that gap (with Mercedes)."
Mercedes have won 15 of 18 races so far and started 17 on pole position. They are sure of winning both championships, ending Renault-powered Red Bull's run of four in a row.
Renault and Ferrari want limited in-season development to help close the gap, but Mercedes argue that would be too expensive and want to reap the rewards of their work.
They also say talk of an engine 'freeze' is wrong since 92 percent can still be worked on.
Horner said mistakes were made with the 2014 engine rules that allowed a competitor to lock in an advantage without rivals being able to catch up.
"Not only have we got an enormously expensive engine, we’ve got an engine that we have got very limited development on," he said, adding that teams could not bear any additional financial burdens.
"Unfortunately, the costs of these power units has driven two teams out of this sport already and it is a big issue," he added. Failed Marussia and Caterham were both absent from the last two races.
Horner was critical of Mercedes and saw little point in further talks because "you can sit in a meeting with people who then change their minds five minutes after they leave the room.
"It is a ridiculous situation that we cannot find a solution to, and I have no idea what the outcome will be," he said.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Sam Holden/Rex Gowar)