The onomatopoeia of F1 engines

With McLaren switching to Honda engines in 2015, Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth has the opportunity to sign up another customer. It is good idea to do so because it is good way to earn back some money, without needing to spend a great deal more. At the moment the firm will be supplying engines to Mercedes AMG Petronas, Martini Williams and Sahara Force India in 2015. Now is the time to sort out a fourth because work is already progressing on the 2015 cars and it helps to know the engine as early as possible. The likely clients are Lotus, Sauber and Caterham. Marussia is believed to be locked into a long-term deal with Ferrari but the other teams whisper that they could make a switch. The primary problem is that all three are a little short of cash at the moment. Having said that the Mercedes option appears not only to be the most effective engine on the market, but also the cheapest when one takes everything into account.

Talking around the paddock, it seems that Renault is the most expensive option at the moment. This make sense given that everything in France costs more than elsewhere because of the country’s employment laws and social charges (eh bah!). The price tag I hear for Renault is, ahem, $28.5 million for the engine. To this one must add the transmission (which Red Bull will do for you if you write them a cheque for $9 million) and you need to purchase the right lubricants for the engine from Total ($2 million more). Thus, without needing a pocket calculator, one can surmise that a Renault deal engine will cost you the best part of $40 million. Geez!

Ferrari seems to be the next best/worst offer with the suggestion being that you get the back end of the current prancing horse for a sniff under $30 million, when one adds in the transmission, service and yadda yadda.

Up in Brixworth, however, you can order the Menu du Jour, service included, for $24.4 million. That will include a little supplement for Petronas but from what I hear this is simply a deal to run Malaysian Jazeman Jaafar in a limited number of free practice sessions on Fridays. All in, the figure is believed to be around $26 million.

So, you want to be more competitive and spend less money? What do you choose?

Ferrari at $30 million. Maaa…

Renault at $40 million. Yougottabekiddinme…

Mercedes at $26 million. Ker-Ching!

Uh-duh…

158 thoughts on “The onomatopoeia of F1 engines

  1. What has Formula 1 become, when teams even have to pay for yadda yadda. That’s what’s wrong with the sport… *rant froth*

      1. “No. Why would you do that? Red Bull wants a supplier of its own…”
        Infinity, perhaps? Or are they too closely tied to Renault via Nissan?

  2. I’m surprised the power unit manufacturers are so open in revealing what they charge, seemingly down to the tenth of a million $ in the Mercedes case.

        1. “Journalists exist to find out the good stuff.” “Indeed.. there’s not even a ballpark figure on any other site!”

          There will be now… LOL!

    1. Sometimes companies doing such similar things can work out very well their competitors’ costs, so it ceases to be a advantage to keep your price secret. But open secrets allow deniability, which is often preferable to printing a price list. Then again they might all be ganging up on Joe so they can blame him for deals gone wrong as a practical joke…. I sometimes wonder…

    1. Not for at least two seasons. They can at some point be “called upon to do so” but the view in F1 is that the more manufacturers come the better

      1. I was curious about this part of the Honda/McLaren strategy. More teams running the power units would mean more data to support development. An exclusive deal seems counter-intuitive in a data driven era.

        There must be confidence that the extra twelve months before homologation will give them a design advantage that outweighs the penalty of a more limited data set.

  3. 2 million for lube! What on earth do they make it out of? Or maybe it’s not of this earth. The price certainly isn’t.

    1. Lubrication has made huge advances in recent years. Reducing internal friction equals more horsepower and oil plays a major role in removing heat from the engine and cooling pistons. Money well spent.

    2. There’s a lot to it. They are not diverting a tanker from the local garage. Fuels firstly have to meet FIA restrictions, then be formulated especially for a particular engine, then for each track, and a team may want different mixes for economy, power, etc. Then you have to get the fuels to the track, usually from the UK, and you don’t just book a barrel into some freight airline. Then there is a technician at the track with a mobile laboratory, analyzing the fuel constantly to see it meets specs whatever the atmospheric conditions. Also analyzing the used lube to microscopic levels to check engine wear, and so on. Not a cheap operation.

      1. Back as far as 1972, Caterpillar agents were carrying out Oil Analysis, at Service times, the graphic sent to the customer, showed how the hydraulic and engine oils were performing, and what traces of metals were in the oils that had been drained off. It was trail blazing stuff in the heavy construction machine industry, and predates the modern F1 research…..not everything stems from motor racing, usually it is the reverse, someone spots a useful idea in another field and transfers it to car racing.

  4. I still think Mercedes and Haas would be a good combination for Mercedes in USA for marketing reasons.

      1. Joe: Among his many announcements, Mr. Haas stated that he was pursuing an engine deal with Ferrari. So has he finalized that contract with Ferrari. The billionaire also indicated that he plans to beg and borrow parts from other teams; how successful has he been in this pursuit. What does the paddock thinks of him.

        (PS my computer wont allow the insertion of symbols)

        1. Let’s give him time. His announced plans make no sense at all – but it is his money if he wants to waste it.

          1. I despise the blatant overuse of this word, and the associated concept, but many successful startups “pivot”. A startup is by definition looking for a way to serve a market, and until you get out there, really speak with customers in earnest, you might as well have a fantasy poem on a piece of bog roll for a brochure.

            At the reprehensible extreme, “pivoting” is used as a planning piece for those who raise money to say “sure we got that wrong, give us more, we’ll try something else”

            There is argument for some teams that the team is what counts, is valuable to keep in place, for investors.

            But some “pivots” are outrageous, just opportunistic attempts to apply supposedly gained experience any place they can.

            Intel pivoted, by dropping memory chips for microprocessors.

            Microsoft pivoted, starting with programming languages and moving to operating systems and software.

            Good pivots clearly reuse strong technical advantages.

            Haas presents a dilemma, because it is hard to argue they have a relevant technical advantage. I think they fall into the category of having a team of people that is valuable. The hurdle they have is attracting the initial talent with experience, who will be skeptical of the approach.

            If Haas arrive on the grid, I think they will already have a amazing story to tell. I very much hope they succeed, but my hope is greater that a lot can be learned and shared about how to go about joining F1. That will not by then be sensitive to their operations. I hope they will see that as a important thing to communicate. The story might be their advantage, in fact.

            ….

            I find he’s diluted now, writing up coursework, but Steve Blank is super on startup philosophy and practice. The Secret History Of Silicon Valley is a super lecture that will surprise you in the scope of thought. His essays, add a dot com to his name, are among my required reading list for everyone I think to be involved with commercially. I wish I had had Blank to steer me, when I argued every day with my cofounder, that a business plan was not a fixed work, but a reflection of what we could get customers to commit to and our abilities.

  5. What is the Onomatopoeia word for the sound of a current F1 engine?
    Ask any kid about a previous one and you’ll get vrooom, brrrrmmmm, brap brap brapm screech, reeeeeeeeaaaahh reeeeach

    I’m thinking something like Zrruuuuuuuuuuuuu?
    Wuuuuum Wuuuum Wuuum ?

    Suggestions?

    1. I don’t agree. The current engines are more vrooom and brrrmmm. The old ones were much more screeEEEEchy

      1. Doppler effect V10s ooooowwwwwwwaaahhh

        Blown exhausts urrrggggjaaaahhhhhahuhuhuhikikikuhhhhurrraaaahhhh

        Those V12s of then gggggggrrrrrrrrrrr

        I’m sure someone can do a lot better than that.

      2. I agree. Apart from the higher decibel levels, I didn’t find the V8s particularly interesting. These current engines have a lot more personality.

        1. Shall be in the pits on the 8th or 9th so looking forward to comparing close up to last years cars. Hoping they can impress more than the dull whirl TV gives out.

          1. You’ll be disappointed then – they sound better on tv, not worse

            I just happen to be re watching Grand Prix – movie trickery caveats and all – but what a glorious sound with soul and rhythm – but i cant put a word on the sound waaaaaaarrrrrrrrmMMM crrk waaaaarrrrrrrMMM crrk?

  6. I wonder what Honda are thinking of McLaren’s performance this year and next given the poor performance is clearly not engine related…

    1. How can you say it is not engine-related. If I was Mercedes-Benz I would not be giving away all my secrets…

      1. … though (using hopefully libel-proof journalistic turn of phrase learnt from eminent F1 blogger) There Are Those That Think MB might perhaps share a bit more with a customer team if one of their executive directors happened to have shares (and maybe a wife) in that customer team … and There Are Those That Think it might help if that customer team didn’t do anything silly like beating the works team when it has the chance to do so …? 😉

        1. Go and have a lie down. Williams very nearly beat Merc last weekend and I am quite sure they would do it if they could. It is racing and Team Willy is all about racing.

          1. Looked like they were all about going for the guaranteed 3rd and 4th last weekend, rather than racing for the win.

          2. “It is racing and Team Willy is all about racing.”
            Team ‘Willy’? LOL
            Please tell me that’s not how they are referred to in F1 circles.

            1. Sir Frank himself referred to “Team Willy” in a quick interview with Ted Kravitz after one of the GP’s earlier in the season (may have been at the end of last season)

              1. If Sir Frank Williams calls his team “Team Willy”, then Team Willy it is, and I’ll say it with pride!

          3. Yeah, I know. My comment was supposed to be taken as tongue-in-cheek. I’ve been a Team Willy fan since Nico’s old man was driving for them, and am very happy to see them getting back towards the front. At the risk of sounding like an Old Fart, in the “good old days” they would have used Bottas to hold up the Mercs in the opening laps to let Felipe pull out a big enough gap to get out ahead after the first round of pit stops. Guess you’re not allowed to do that sort of thing now, what with this new fangled equal treatment of team mates, and bans on blocking, and defensive changes of direction.

      2. Does the performance of the Williams and Force India cars not point to car problems at McLaren, rather than engine issues?

          1. Joe.. could Mercedes effectively place McLaren 6th in the WCC? Williams and FI 4th/5th then gives them more cash, to pay for Mercedes engines, also depriving McLaren of a few million dollars, in their attempt to come on strong in 2015 and aim for Mercedes with the ‘Mercedes-Honda’ powertrain…

          2. Meaning that Brixworth may have nobbled McLaren’s engines? (Sorry, meant “supplied a slightly less developed specification”.)

            In any case, gosh…

    2. You’re not going to give every last drop of performance to a leaving customer, are you?

      1. @ John (o J) It is indeed curious that of the four teams using MB engines McLaren, probably the most august team in F1, is the only one struggling massively to excel with the preeminent and acme of F1 hybrid engines. But the implications of your contention as well as Joe (as noted above) is certainly disturbing.

        McLaren & MB have long enjoyed mutually beneficial relationship. Ah yes, there are always tensions in all relationships. But I cannot believe that, just because McLaren is switching engine suppliers, that MB would do anything either directly or indirectly to contribute to dysfunctional consequences or hamper the operational performances of McLaren. Doing so, could be characterized as unsporting, etc.

        1. For Alex.T and Nick, also:

          Could it be that collaboration and assistance with gaining the best results from the engines, is what is being wound down?

          That would be two ways, McLaren not wanting to share too much, just as equally MB winding down support?

          When there’s a future, you simply put more effort in. It may not be even personnel changes. But I see many contracts that go to a “work to rule” level in their final stages.

          What do you guys think?

      2. From what I understand from a talk I went to at the IMechE with Andy Cowell, all engines come off the like with about .5% variance. The same engines are going to all teams

  7. Bit of gossip to help you while away your day, Annie.

    Chill & rest,

    Your Weffy xxx

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    1. I am sure that this means something to someone, somewhere, but I have no idea what you are on about.

      1. It’s a key to a encrypted telemetry file.

        Definitely.

        So someone can insinuate they can incriminate the upstart Saward’s site in a order to disclose proper key under some draconian law, and shut the place down under trade protection rules and the digital millennium copyright act …

        Why else would anyone be so enigmatically eloquent?

        There are so many clues, if you only look …

        1. A jealous wife letting hubby know he better not dally with the Penelopys?

          I sense The Mole is warming up with a vodka martini somewhere…

  8. Which is the “easier” option in terms of customer/supplier relations, legal issues etc? I would think that since Ferrari road-car deals are most unlikely for team staff , from past experience, the Reggie or Merc are faves (grin), so in terms of engine cost to team, that’ll be a Merc! 😉

  9. Well, if it’s onomatopoeias you are looking for, kerching is probably better than brmmm brmmm this year.

    1. Well with the engines getting quieter and quieter, all you hear is the Whoosh of the drivetrain, in synch with the money rushing out of your account…

    1. I touched on this in the article. France has employment laws that cost companies more money because there are shorter working days (which mean more people) and higher social charges.

      1. I do not know a neat number off the top of my head for engineers in this field, but I remember well in interview being told the cost of supporting me as a salesman on a bond desk: 600 thousand. Catia and the other big CAD//CAM systems run to tens of thousands a year per seat. Salaries are often not the biggest component of costs, but they are not amortizing, and that is a different dynamic. I can’t say Joe is wrong, because it may be that all the support contracts and services that keep your people happy are all affected by social wage costs, and add up. France being France, they have difficulty getting subcontractors who fluent enough to do the job. It’s a language barrier of costs as well. You may argue English is lingua franca, but it is really hard to convey complicated technical nuances in any language, I often spend ten minutes discussing a few lines of code, because code is, well, code, it’s a compact understanding of a system, and we don’t have normal words to describe global variables and inheritances and state and, well, it gets complicated quickly because without proper nouns for so much, you talk around the problem, and that requires fluency. I am pretty sure physical engineering is not that different in the number of challenges. That said, I would not say it was employee costs alone. I looked seriously once at starting a business in France. It’s the whole system that adds up.

        Just realized I mistook direct employee costs for system costs. I just wanted to highlight that specialized engineering buys very expensive tools that can dwarf salaries in some cases. That and I never worked out how to mitigate different cost inputs that would be great to conquer. Super convoluted tax systems, building codes, oh, and cultural reticence to “hack” a system because for the middle classes, it is a pretty good life there. YMMMV.

        1. I heard a figure of £750k for a reasonably senior engineer in a previously succesful team a few years ago. This is for a real person not a typical. I sometimes think that if they are paid that sort of money it’s to stop them going somewhere else and spiling the beans rather than being actually worth that.

          It also reminds me of when, in the mid ’60’s, I told someone advising me on careers that I wanted to work as an engineer in a Grand Prix team I was told “Oh there’s no money in that! Get yourself a proper job!” 😦

          1. F1 is disadvantaged seriously, because there is no share or equity bonus that can count. So they pay over the rate for salary, when competitors for talent pay almost tiny basic salaries and bonus tax deductible ways left and right. Even salaries are loan advances in big broker dealer land. A friend’s nephew studied metallurgy and materials at a top university, took a doctorate, wanted to go into engineering. He interviewed for race teams. Bit the bonus and benefits, think immediate mortgage on a million pound property, he could not justify his dream, and I am sure he had the smarts to land a job, was going to a team in F1. Nevertheless his basic salary was “tiny” to start with. I do not say everyone should be beating down the doors of F1, but I do say there are structural problems that need figuring out. I was just taken aback by how little computational engineering might be allowed. I am starting to think this is all wrong. Why have budget limits, when the problem is fairly sharing the sporting revenues? I think the budget limits are bull. Pure and utter poop. The whole idea is about a finite pie. That has to be thrown out as a idea. F@ck that, really. No, f@ck that right up the sideways. This is looking at a outfit called CVC, which is not obviously only them now, with dog in the manger greed and whilst there are a million doable ideas to make this a full on proper sick evil sport kids will twitter replacement of twitter about and pour money into having a love of honest to the wall racing, everyone is screwing this up, and poking their speculative invoices up their own bums without realizing it. Sorry for the potty mouth, but this is going that way if we don’t get real. Small teams moan and don’t pitch their spots for advertising. Big teams hold out they want a gigabuck for a sponsorship they know how to value if it was for not a marriage. Big teams say we’ll cut costs but only if we get out little committee to set the rules now, thank you and screw you, M. Todt and we have a concrete mixer of puke about to pour over some legs and be sunk in the Monaco harbor. Until heads are banged together, there’s only a racing line Maldonado’s mother could love.

      2. I read something saying that the Red Bull people flown in to Viry-Chatillon were working nearer to 50 hours, while the Renault people did 35.. that’s quite a disparity.

  10. Great stuff! Is it reasonable to expect the three engine manufacturers to have made space age progress again when it comes to efficiency and power with the 2015 engines?

    1. No, the architecture is basically done and from now on it will be chip-chipping away to make them faster, stronger, etc etc

      1. Would this mean we are unlikely to see much change in the pecking order of the engines? aren’t Merc getting lots of their advantage because of the particular architecture of their unit?

          1. I’m very much looking forward to 2016, when Honda will be allowed to correct their initial mistakes (if any) plus having Mercedes, Ferrari and whatever the future brings for Renault already one year ahead.

            What was the real reason why Renault-Nissan deal wasn’t successful half a year ago?

      2. Do you think there are sufficient gains to be had in the other manufacturers following Mercedes lead in splitting the turbine and compressor to reduce pipe runs and inlet temperatures? Presumably the likes of Adrian Newey would love a solution requiring a smaller intercooler even if Mercedes would be nuts to put their works team on the same level as Red Bull engine wise.

        1. The idea of splitting the two units is clever, but I wonder how they support the shaft connecting them bearing (sorry no pun intended) in mind the rotational speeds.

      3. Apparently they are getting variable inlets for next year. and there is a whole area that they can work on to improve the engines..

    1. Joe’s dieting tips:

      Moderate consumption of wine is good for your soul – but generally not in the mornings.
      A little Vegemite on toasted baguette makes a perfect breakfast. Occasionally Vegemite is replaced by Fortnum & Mason’s pink grapefruit marmalade.
      All very un-French…

      1. Joe

        “Moderate consumption of wine is good for your soul” – red wine I trust!

        If moderate consumption is good, does it follow that heavier consumption is better?

        And isn’t red wine good for the heart too? Plus, keeping the arteries clear of whatever it is that arteries need to be kept clear of.

        Should you find yourself in Padstow, Cornwall, could I suggest a visit to Rick Stein’s delicatessen for some of his marmalade?

        Coffee?

        Martin

      2. Vegemite!! Where did you get your taste for it – just Aust GP visits over the years?

        I’ve seen many foreigners trying it for the first time make the mistake of slathering it on too thickly, like it was chocolate or hazelnut spread. A little, as you say, is the way to go for those not raised on it.

        1. I grew up on Marmite in the UK, but I prefer Vegemite. A million years ago (well, in 1986) I started visiting Australia. I used to do a deal with my editor each year that allowed me to go to the Asia-Pacific region for 10 weeks at a time (on salary) on the understanding that while he would pay the airfares, I would look after my own accommodation and write lots of features, columns and race reports. I had a mate from London who was pretty wealthy and had a big house in Woollahra and a boat moored in Double Bay and so I would hang out in dubious places like Kinselas or go off on the boat up the Hawkesbury. I used to go wherever there was a race meeting: Bathurst, Calder, Wellington, Sandown, Adelaide, Japan and Macau. I got to know all the legends of the V8 Supercar world: the Brocks, Moffats, Johnsons, Grices, Jum, Bondy, Big Rev Kev, Farmer George, Johnny Bowe and even younguns like Bradley Jones and Skaify. I even went to Fiji a couple of times because one year I remember it was really cheap because there was a coup d’etat going on. I wrote my World Atlas of Motor Racing while staying a house full of books in Sydney, courtesy of celebrated racing commentator Will Hagon… Wonderful Vegemite-filled days. I also like pie-floaters but you can stick your witchetty grubs, quite the most disgusting thing I ever eaten!

          1. Interesting… I too grew up on Marmite, but when the UK started importing Vegemite a few years ago my then-partner and I gave it a go – we both found it disgusting and couldn’t get on with it at all. Odd that you had the opposite experience.

          2. Farmer George I can almost bet not many know who your are talking about, I think of Nissan Bluebird when you mention that name.

            Peter Perfect I was lucky to know his wive Bev and spent much time in the pits at Sandown and Oran Park. I am impressed you actually lived real racing life.

  11. Joe, any idea how many actual engines does a team get for all those millions ? Each driver can use 5 per season iirc but are there spare engines back at the factories for research and development stuff ?

    1. Renault Sport F1 is the development centre. I believe that the engine manufacture and assembly is still sub-contracted to Mecachrome in Aubigny-sur-Nere, near Gien.

  12. Nice insight, thank you Joe.
    I wonder if Ferrari might drop prices across the board to keep Sauber, if (and a very big if) they are to possibly supply the Forza Rossa team as well next year?

      1. Is there any logic to considering the idea that Marussia are only tied to Ferrari as long as Jules Bianchi is there? Could the folks at Ferrari consider pushing him into a Sauber seat and therefore keep the Maranello-to-Hinwil route open a few more years?

        1. You mean a caricature of greed caricaturing themselves out of business twenty years before their idea of greed would be considered fair ambition for a second university econ grad?

          1. I mean the ridiculous cost increases for a sports series that really has no relevance to the ordinary road car. Has not had any real connection for decades, apart from both having 4 wheels, an engine/gearbox/suspension/tyres…oh, and a rear light! Think about it. Sponsor card rates are reducing, spectator interest falling, tv coverage reducing behind the paywall…..now what shall we do to help this series? Hey, why not make all the teams run with engines that cost $20-$35 million a year more to buy and further huge amounts to service!! Now, what was that little problem of several teams going to the wall about??

            1. That sounds like Gecko’s speech in the second movie, when he gets out of jail, and regales the audience with a “you think *I* was a crook?!!!”

    1. If both new teams come in, it looks like Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari will all have 4 teams, with Honda exclusive to McLaren. After 2016, it would be interesting to see if anything changes.

  13. Leftfield idea but how about Red Bull buy Meccachrome? If they see no future with Renault, they will struggle to go somewhere else unless they go with someone new which is possible for 2016 but that still leaves next year and chances are hte first year of the new engine in 2016 would be a write off too.
    If you were Renault, you might say “We won 4 titles with Red Bull and didn’t get much exposure (at least they claimed this to be a problem though I’m sure they have justified it internally), and now we’re just getting bad publicity. If Red Bull (and presumably Torro Rosso leave us) we’ll have Lotus and Caterham, who we don’t know will even survive, let alone win, and we don’t like anyway as there are payment issues.”

    Red Bull get a 90% developed engine and then pump their own money, decisions and Austrian tech into it, and it given them a potential le mans and road car engine for specialist low volume cars like the McLaren F1 for Adrian Newey to design.

    There’s plenty of reasons not to do this, but if Austrian piston suppliers etc were being sounded out at the weekend, I’d say that is the most logical way to do it.

  14. Wonder how Renault could market itself now, with its high price tag and lack of competitiveness when compared to Mercedes-Benz…

  15. About engines, I keep reading that the main difference between the Merc and the others is the positioning of the (hot) turbo and the (necessarily cool) energy recovery unit (with the Merc they’re furthest apart, the Renault has them next to each other and the Ferrari – which moans more softly than Luca these days – is somewhere in the middle, literally). The Merc’s setup is supposed to give a big advantage in cooling with all sorts of gains flowing from that (smaller cooling system, tighter packaging, etc). Given the freeze in engine development, do you think (or hear) there is any chance of Renault and Ferrari changing their design (in the name of safety or reliability or whatever), or will they have to find a way to work around this problem?

  16. Mr Salesman: We want $50m and we’ll be using Renault engines.
    Mr Sponsor: Huh?

    Mr Salesman: We want $50m and we’ll be using Mercedes engines.
    Mr Sponsor: Tell me more.

    Easy decision? Well maybe not some teams ala Sauber are tied into deals 😦

  17. Does Red Bull have to pay the $30.5 million to Renault for Torro Rosso, or is that part of the works/infinity deal? Would partly explain why the other 2 teams have to pay 50% more effectively for the Renault engine as there is one less customer to go by.

    Also, have Lotus now given up their gearbox capability? Presumably it was mothballed last year as it was cheaper/less risky to buy the gearbox in from Red Bull rather than spend money they didn’t have.

      1. Joe, if I was a Renault F1 customer I’d be demanding a discount for lack of performance and reliabilty thus far. As I am not, I can only be curious about if any of four Renault powered teams think the way I do.

        Does the $2 million cost for fuel and lubricants include obligation to put Total stickers on the cars and overalls?

  18. You are now beginning to grasp why this technology will not be seen in road cars where bean counters rule the roost.

    I thought that it might be useful in trucks which do phenomenal mileage, weigh heavy and have a high price tag, but have been assured by a Mercedes truck guy, it has no relevance for them either.

  19. If I understood your reply inthe Honda question, I find it quite disturbing. As I understand it, currently engine manufacturers are required to supply three teams each? So, along comes Honda and they only need to supply one? What kind of B/S is that? Talk about an uneven playing field, here lies the definition. Additionally, the Einstein homologation engine rules I hear are good for three years! With the talk of the town being that Mercedes big advantage is in the actual layout of their construction, Renault and Ferrari are pretty much up the creek for the next two years. Meanwhile, Honda can easily go the Mercedes style route, which has clearly shown the way, and homologate their engine, for exclusive use at McLaren. All of this being the case, it sounds to me that the best option all the way around, would be as Red Bull are apparently tied to Renault and it’s anchor dragging design, for another few years, is for Ferrari, who are dragging a similar anchor as Renault and like Renault, are locked into an overall uncompetitive design for another two years, courtesy of the FIA’s homologation requirements, on a brand new radically changed engine formula, encompassing entirely new round breaking technology, Ferrari should buy the extra Mercedes contract next year. Now, having said that, naturally 98% of those who read it are dusting off their britches from falling out of the chair they were sitting in. However, think about it for a second. First off, Ferrari certainly can afford to pay the piper, who in this case is the wild mustache of the cheery Dr. Z. Second, as both Renault and Ferrari are completely F€#&@} for the next couple of years, complements of the FIA, if they want to win races and hopefully championships, why not? I would be willing to bet pounds, euros, and dollars that if the FIA is so narrow minded that they have the homologation rules set up te way they do for this new breed of engines, that there is no rule that forbids a manufacture like Ferrari, to run a competitors engine for themselves. Actually, giving credit where credit is due, Penske did pretty much the same thing with Toyota and Honda engines about 15 years ago in IndyCar racing. I think Luca and Ferrari have the option of “thinking outside of the box” here and should go for it. The bottom line however is truly: What was the FIA thinking anyway? Really?

  20. Joe,

    I must be missing something here, you always seem to be the one defending these new engines etc, but in the cold hard light of HOW MUCH?? even you must realise it’s unsustainable?

    As you rightly point out, half the grid are in budget strife, and in the last few years we hear talk of budget caps, cost cutting etc, yet despite all this, F1 ploughed on with the most expensive race engines in history.

    Remind us again who exactly wanted these new engines?

    1. F1 had a choice. It could go on with old wasteful engines pegged at a low price with no development and no interest at all. or it could invest and go for a new generation of engines with meaning for the industry that might attract more interest from companies wanting to associate with green. Quite rightly F1 chose the path of the future. So I support that decision. It is only logic. Besides, the new engines will come down in price quite quickly now.

      1. My issue isn’t with the technology itself at all. But with all new , ground breaking technology that is bound to have a learning curve filled with bumps and hurdles, how does the FIA explain locking manufacturers into a homologation formula from the beginning?

      2. I fully agree, Joe, about the choice of route as F1 moves forward. For me more decibels are still required though, if not to the ear damaging levels of last season etc. Hearing them live for the first time in Monaco last month was a real disappointment and for me and many others I know it has devalued the spectacle of F1 a little. I expect it will be the same at Silverstone shortly. Great technology, but a naff sound.

        1. PS I well remember being at F1 tests at Silverstone in the old pit complex when, with just one car on track, you could hear the engine note and every gear change throughout the entire lap, even when they’d were down at Stowe and heading across to Club a mile or so away. That was fun.

      3. got to haul you up on this!

        ‘wasteful’ ??

        in what way are the old V8’s wasteful? they are (comparatively) cheap, well developed (so no more investment required), reliable (so less engines per year), and above all, a fraction of the cost for a team to run.

        May I suggest you take a gander over the the GP2 grid and look at their engine?

        to pick you up on your choice argument, why are you suggesting it’s black and white?

        if you truly want F1 to innovate, you leave the regs open, you do not define down to the mm exactly what the engine is, can use, how many Mj this and that, etc etc. by all means, fix a fuel flow and race consumption, but why regulate *anything* else?

        How do you know that somebody could not have come up with a much more efficient/powerful solution than a V6 IC engine? (that’s lower tech than your average hatchback shopping trolleys engine).

        You keep banging on about how this is all cutting edge tech and it’s the only way forward, well, sorry, no it’s not either, between Toyota/Honda/Tesla/BMW/Ford/VAG have more technical developments in powertrain efficiency than this, and have actually applied it to the real world.

        back to the main point though, collectively, the manufacturers have spent over a billion dollars on these white elephants, that’s money they are never going to see back, it’s gone, the teams are now stuck with paying an insane amount of money out now for an engine deal, at which point this may well tip them over the edge and into oblivion.

        It’s not exactly an inducement for a new team to try and enter either, realistically now you need at throw at least $100M a year at it, that’s not trivial.

        Now, I am sure you will tell me I am talking rubbish, but I would just like to point out that people like Patrick Head have publically said exactly the same, so I guess he (and others) are all clueless too?

          1. And excuse me, but has F1 cut back on the number of Cargo aircraft, Commercial flights, Executive Jets and Helicopter transfers? The most waste in F1 over the last 30 years has not been the cars themselves, nor the engines, but the excessive lifestyles created by Bernie, and pushed for by the teams. The fact that a 2014 F1 car uses 30% less fuel has no impact on the gargantuan waste overall in the series!

            1. So is your answer all the races taking place in the same place, or freight traveling by sailing ship?

              1. No, just pointing out that saving 30% fuel in an F1 race, hasn’t made people flock to the trackside, or their tv sets. And if measured in success terms, it would be more useful for F1 to be able to say that they have cut 30% off the fuel use for all the travelling circus, that would be impressive! A lot of it could also be done by the simple expedient of arranging the race dates in a sensible pattern. And, if F1 wants to be environmentally friendly, the teams could take buses to the circuits instead of choppers, and use commercial flights instead of personal jets…..and with some forward planning sea freight could be used too…..run 2 cars in Monza, send 2 in a container to Canada, then truck them to Watkins Glen….just organisational procedure really.

  21. Joe if u can eat vegimite u win.I am born and bread Ausrailian but it tasta like shiiit.Ferrari could do a lot worse than get a quote on Mercedes power plants.luv the read but having trouble paying for mag

  22. Any idea of how much cheaper V8 engines were? I know there has been a lot written about how much GREENer these V6 Turbo engines are and more relevant to road cars, but if the costs were so much higher would that still be an attractive proposition for the common man?

  23. With your insight at Caterham and the fall out with Renault / Caterham road car project, if Tony still wants to poor millions into a F1 team then there is only one team out there

        1. Seems a reasonable thought; there was a time when he even seemed to subscribe to that thought.

  24. Is it not at little ironic that the struggling teams seem to have the most expensive powertrain pacakges ?

    1. “Is it not at little ironic that the struggling teams seem to have the most expensive powertrain pacakges ?”
      Insert French joke (here)…

  25. There was a news site murmur on Lotus being interested.. but what about Caterham? Jazeman Jaafar would be acceptable, unless they are still unhappy with Petronas and the Malaysian backing going over to Mercedes. They do have a lot of their own juniors to run too.

    Tony wants to reduce running costs, and Mercedes would boost the team into competing with Sauber and Marussia.. though this scenario requires the team to be functioning in 2015, if they lose 10th place prize money to Marussia.

    Despite the Renault Alpine partnership not bearing fruit, Reuters says that a 3 year engine deal extension was signed in September 2013. But Wikipedia also says that only Marussia and Toro Rosso are ‘TBA’ on 2015 engine deals..

    So Sauber makes sense, if they will cut the tie to Ferrari, perhaps to keep Sutil on board? There was a news mumble saying he will continue in 2015, which surprised me, as Sauber are obviously lining up Van der Garde and even de Silvestro for sponsorship money.

    I imagine Gutierrez will then follow the Mexican Slim money to Force India, behind Perez.. maybe Simona could get some FP1s and an extra year to get money together. Same applies for Sirotkin’s position.

    All this said, Marussia don’t have a reserve driver, with the news saying Fabio Leimer was offered the chance if he could bring some money, which has just ran out. If not, Tio Ellinas gets a chance at Silverstone.

    So, if they could swap to Mercedes, they could run Jaafar, and be even more competitive than with Ferrari engines. But, losing Jules Bianchi could be two steps backwards.. so I guess that is the priority in the short term, as it might reward them with the 10th place prize money.

  26. Dear Joe, all
    At the time, I found it a bit curious that Honda waited a year to enter the fray, but it seems like a smart move- presuming that they can follow Mercedes lead, and put the turbine at the rear, and the compressor at the front, etc
    This may seem like a really dumb question, but, what is to stop Nissan/Infiniti (to pull a couple of names out of the ether) to enter F1 with a power plant with a similar turbo configuration to Merc (and, a coincidentally very similar block, crank, heads, etc to the current Renault unit?? Or, for that matter, Maserati???

    Luca keeps threatening to dump f1, Agnelli really wants to pump Maserati sales to 50,000pa. Likewise, a Renault engine doesn’t seem to do much for Renault sales/profits, and Nissan is bringing in the bikkies.
    Given double points, standing restarts, and other “window dressing” BS, nothing would surprise me with F1.
    Peerhaps I am talking out of a hole in my ……?
    Cheers
    MarkR

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