Engine changes

There is a lot of fuss at the moment about the F1 engine rules and whether they should be changed. The current structure means that changing rules is very difficult and the whole business tends to get bogged down. This is something that the FIA allowed to happen because it wanted money and a share in the business. The whole governance question is a big mess as a result. Perhaps that was done deliberately for some political reason, we can only guess.

The rules we now have are brilliant and they truly challenge the engineers to develop more efficiency. These engines were what the manufacturers wanted so those who blame the FIA are simply ill-informed or they have a hidden agenda. One of the things that the rules were supposed to do was to bring in more manufacturers. That has happened with Honda but there are no others visible at the moment. In an effort to keep costs down there is a system of tokens relating to engine development. Each major element of the power unit has been given a value in tokens and manufacturers can choose which elements they can change, up to the limit of the tokens available. This limit reduces over time. The aim of the system was to keep costs down, while still allowing manufacturers to develop new technology. Given the car companies want hybrid technology I think that they should be allowed to spend as much as they like, so long as the price paid by customer F1 teams does not increase. Engine costs today in F1 are ruinous and there is an argument that the manufacturers should be regulated in what they can charge. If they want the technology they will pay whatever it takes because the ultimate prize is to sell more cars and that brings in vast sums of money. Teams need cost caps and a limit on the price of the engine. If they had these then the current grid would be safe, although there is still a lot of debt to clear.

70 thoughts on “Engine changes

  1. The internal combustion engine is so well known there is so much money to be spent there for very little gain and the only ones to gain from that spending are the ones that make cars.

    I’ve always been of the opinion that the recovery units and batteries should be free from spending limits and technical limits.
    This way if you a significant advantage over your opponents you can get an advantage and the smaller teams could take advantage of that.

    It would also mean that you can draw on other industries. The amount of money that is spent on trying to improve batteries is huge and if any of those companies could provide a battery that was faster / better / smaller it would have great benefits for that company I’m sure to use F1 as a means to advertise that fact.

    1. There is development potential in the internal combustion engine but not much within the F1 regs. Designers are limited with regard to dimensions and materials so much that it is close to a spec engine. Mercedes-Benz spotted an opportunity to redesign the turbocharger element, which provides some of the horse power advantage and some aerodynamic benefit. It was a very clever observation for which I have a lot of admiration.

      The rules are more or less right. They emphasise development of the hybrid element of the power unit where there is most to be gained. All the same, I’d open up the regs to allow ic engine components made from ceramic, plastic or new alloys, with a cost cap for those particular developments.

    2. I totally agree with you, Trozz.

      The pity is I think the TV coverage is entirely shy somehow, or embarrassed to discuss anything to do with the electric plant. This extends to journalistic coverage, but I suspect the workings of these power trains are simply too complex, for all but the engineering titles, to address*. F1 is hybrid, but not yet comfortable with its new identity. Whether opening up the electric chain to development, would cause embarrassment in some parts, witness Rosberg stuck behind a Caterham, without his electric bits working, looks like a necessary debate. One can’t be a little bit hybrid.

      * I do not agree with this. I think it very interesting, to have drivers managing the machinery in ways that consumer auto hybrids automate. This additional burden on the pilot, has been almost entirely covered up, right down to a Luddite knee jerk response to radio help, which could have been made more educational.

  2. Joe, do you have any insight to the relative costs of developing an engine and supplying it to two or three teams as opposed to focusing on one team? I imagine given the rules are fairly new, the majority of the costs incurred by the engine manufacturers will be in R&D rather than the cost of physically manufacturing and servicing the engines. Assuming some form of normal economics applies (in F1 is this likely…?) then the more engines the manufacturers makes and supplies to teams, then the lower the cost per engine is…? If that is the case then it’s probably fairly easy to imagine Mercedes for example (again assuming their clients pay) seeing the income from Williams, Force India, this year McLaren and next Lotus as effectively covering, or at least considerably subsidising the costs incurred by the works team. Quite a nice little earner for them!

      1. Given the image that Merc has created this advantage by spending lots of money on it quite early, I suppose the income from other teams would only serve to mitigate the cost, which you would assume to be pretty massive. But still, Mercedes have the most customer teams (although the financial situation of teams like Force India, Lotus and Williams still seems worrysome). The BBC claims that Red Bull have a works deal with Renault that means (or so the BBC assumes, I guess) they don’t pay. That leaves Toro Rosso (with possibly some sort of special deal as well) and Caterham. Ferrari are in similar shape with themselves as works team and only Sauber and Marussia as customers.

        I’m really looking forward to seeing how good (or bad) the Honda PU will be. I’ve been reading conflicting reports (too heavy/same mistakes as Ferrari and Renault as opposed to very good/powerful and light). At his point you would have to assume that it could not be spectacular, also given McLaren’s form, but once one would have said the same about Hamilton’s move to Mercedes… (Which I thought was folly at the time, and I still suspect it had as much to do with his frustrations with McLaren as with the plans Mercedes showed him back then).

    1. I hazard that the real costs, if all accounted for, across so many divisions of a large company, would amount to many billions. Only the fact that development costs are defrayed by multiple uses, means developing a F1 PU is economic. Sadly, this means no route for a Cosworth style renaissance, unless maybe the electrical components are opened up, leaving the combustion parts to equalize. I personally think it would be far more interesting, to see a Honda – McLaren – Tesla team, e.g. There is no shame in not being the producer of everything. But that is why I worry a bit for Honda, actually.

  3. “the ultimate prize is to sell more cars and that brings in vast sums of money”

    Actually, the automobile industry has not earned its cost of capital over a cycle for a long time. There are exceptions, of course, e.g. certain luxury manufacturers, but in aggregate it is not an economically attractive industry for capital.

    1. There was a period where they outsourced everything, the Ford Ka for instance in the UK was a complete turnkey project. Since industry went through so many rounds of redundancies a lot of the design and project management work is done by contract engineers. Often the guys who got fired last time are again working on the same project as contractors. This merely shifts some of the cost into a different budget. This usually means that true loss is hidden until critical mass is reached.
      Another tactic has been to hive off the engineering and associated processes (testing etc) and call it a separate company, hence we had Visteon and Delphi, the idea then was to get outside engineering work to supplement income. However there was not enough to go round. Lotus Engineering at Hethel had a good percentage and Airspeed-Streamline housed a rival group of contract engineers as did CAT and several others. (some of whom had such a high opinion of themselves that their feet were never actually on the ground, others were so chaotic that they made one wonder how cars ever got built, and in several instances they didn’t )
      Whilst engineering was being split off, purchasing was doing the opposite, being globalised. This changed the world for many suppliers who found themselves competing against all the suppliers of their type of product in the world and vastly complicating the quoting procedure. Many suppliers also found internal customer politics prohibitive, due to existing agreements/favouritism with other overseas suppliers. All of course whilst maintaining ISO9000/TS16949 plus the customers own version of VDE etc.
      The effect of this was to make a hell of a lot of additional work in quoting for many products which were completely uneconomical, but compulsory if you wanted to stay on the list.

      I think in many instances the mm (motor manufacturers) had organised themselves into a structure that stopped them actually knowing what the total cost were. I know in one major UK/US mm simply did not cost in his own departmental overheads. So to me it is not surprising that major mms can effectively go bankrupt.

    2. That rule of thumb also applies, for example, to banking or the airline industry. Airlines, like car manufacture, carry national prestige as well as economic benefits. Do you remember the old days when every developed nation had a national carrier?

    3. Big Auto gets lumped with political costs… VW AG breathing life into Skoda had remarkable economic recovery effects. Ultimately, you start to see these companies as responsible mainly for ensuring the rest of the economy is okay, but ensuring economic mobility. We’d care less, if the VC / PE industry had not, dint ZIRP, tied up everything that normal people would have been able to invest in.

  4. I said exactly this a while ago. The whole idea of hybrid was road relevance and to move know how across platforms. Manufacturers spend billions developing new models anyway, just set a maximum lease price per team and problem solved. They will max out the current format and become equal within 2 years and then freeze it.

  5. Joe, do you mean that the car manufacturers should be able to spend what they can on developing the hybrid part of the power plant or is it the sum of the parts? Is fuel and lubrication development “free” (as with the V8s) to increase efficiency?

    It’s mad that the engine costs increase 2-3 times and then the CRH complains about them in public!

    1. Fuel must comply with Article 19 of the Tech regs. No super chemicals. Need to be chemist to understand most of the reg.
      Also this nice, properly written item:
      19.1.3 Any petrol, which appears to have been formulated in order to subvert the purpose of this regulation, will be deemed to be outside it.

      Lubrication comes under the Power Unit change regs and costs 1point to change the whole system or 1 point to change its cooling system. Ref page 88 tech regs.

  6. How many engine changes can they have in a season?? Bit different to the grenades I used to truck around for Yamaha! We used to get through about a dozen every race weekend!!

  7. Hey Joe, Great piece as always,
    I just subscribed to GP+ … better late than never I guess,
    Just a request , it would be great if there was a ‘pay as you go’ . Sorry if I went off topic here..

      1. Pity, I am sure JoJ could write an automatic system for you. If you had that then you could still have blog free and comments 50p That may make some people think first.

  8. Joe, do you feel that until Formula One distributes the overall earnings it produces on a more equitable basis to the teams, it will fail to attract more engine manufacturers such as Audi, Toyota and Porsche whose long distance racing hybrid technology is as advanced as most current F1 engine suppliers?

    1. I think that would help. However I think that the primary reason manufacturers hang back in the profligate image of F1. This is why a cost cap is important because then it is about efficiency and is easier to sell to the company.

      1. That image would be vastly improved, if there was a more articulate grasp of economics, in and around F1. When a political party claims revival, you know they are selling a line, but when a sport known for big money tries to fudge the books, you don’t get that same level of fatalism. F1 sits at a incredible axis of industry, and should rather be proud of the scale of operations.

  9. Wouldn’t a cap on engine r&d costs be unenforceable? Because all the major manufacturers could just hide the costs in the rest of the business.

    ‘Oh our road car department came up with this and we just added it to the F1 car’

    1. I think Joe was suggesting a cap on the price customer teams have to pay for a power train. So it doesn’t bankrupt half the field but the big 4 could then knock themselves out spending on R&D to promote the brand. They’d run at a net loss but if the big manufacturers want to blow unlimited cash on the development race that’s fine – just don’t pass it all into the midfield.

    2. While not specifically about engines, there have been past post-a-thons about the budget-policing issue you raise.

      Bottom line: forensic accountants say they can, while those who aren’t forensic accountants think forensic accountants can’t.

  10. As we all know, Renault and Ferrari want to “unfreeze” the engines. If they are successful in this, Mercedes will have no choice but try to outdevelop them. And so on, and we enter another spending war.
    Under the circumstances then I cannot see a cost cap on customer engines any time soon. Even with engines frozen it is unlikely as there is still quite a significant development potential.

  11. I had to laugh at the statement from Ferrari regarding unfreezing the engines and maintaining costs:

    “But Ferrari sticks to its central assertion that it is in the interest of the sport to continue to foster innovation and development in a manner that makes sure that costs are kept under control and are not escalated – especially for the smaller teams.”

    If this was truly the case, then why do Ferrari oppose an overall cost cap, while also taking an extra chunk of the sports profits, that could instead be divided amongst the other teams, benefiting the smaller ones?

  12. I think it’s hiatus to hear Ferrari talking about what is good for F1. They weren’t bothered when they were dominant and orchestrated results. They weren’t bothered when they agreed an unfair payment with fom. There bothered because they need strong performances to sell cars. But is F1 with a struggling Ferrari team really struggling full stop? At least the team who has dominated this year has allowed their drivers to race.

    I can fully understand Mercedes decision. Their customers are happy and they have a good product because you invested. Why would you give your competition an easy ride ? Especially when doing so increases your costs. The engines can be changed in the off season and changed through the season on reliability grounds. I think that’s enough leeway to be honest.

  13. Ferrari had more say than most in the rule making, both as part of the F1 Policy group and having it’s own veto. So they should shut up and work on the parts you are allowed to change each season, 61 points worth of items this winter and 51 next. Page 88 of the Tech regs.

    Within those allowable changes Ferrari and Renault could well catch up to Merc.
    There is hardly a thing you cannot change. So why all this bleating?

  14. Joe. what i dont really see is a solid comitment with rules. and starring to keep aboard
    its like if something goes wrong with my unit them a change has to be permited ( puting aside the token and elements developing option).
    is flase that with this so called method new engines brands would enter or comeback. comeback 4 what? to supply witch team?
    at the moment only 5 teams from a total of 11 have a “solid foundations” to keep they squad running.

    the thing that i dont understand is that what the grand circus will do secure new real entries o to keep current one and the new entries as well

  15. You wrote a piece about the token before. What i was wondering is, can a manufacter build and test different engine concepts without using the tokens or changing the current race engine?

    1. They can do whatever they like. They can only make changes using the tokens. But that does not stop them spending unlimited money working out which are the best things to change.

  16. Your argument relies on the assumption that manufacturers are not developing their engines through the course of 2014. That is ridiculous.

    They are all developing flat out, but none of them can implement anything until next year. They spend the same amount, but derive no benefit. The only reason the V8 freeze was successful was because the engines were well balanced. Having an engine freeze in the first year of a new technology was a dumb idea, and Mercedes’ continued dominance is proof of that.

  17. I am fairly unhappy with the current state of the engine rules. I feel that it has limited the full constructor teams in favor of the format we have now. This gives a tremendous development advantage to the full constructors while the other teams have to deal with the left over bits as it were.
    I dream of seeing Formula 1 return to a full constructor series. If that means getting rid of these expensive hybrid power units, and implement a “simple” combustion engine format, so be it. I think if we do return to a full constructor format, the engines should be sourced from production engines and modified for use in Formula1. No more infinity branded red bull race cars running a Renault engine, but a infinity sourced engine powering a red bull race car. Wouldn’t that be something!!

    1. Engine simplification happened in Indy car racing between 1930 and 1941. It is known as the Junk Formula era. Some interesting cars were developed (mostly by Harry Miller and associates) but development stagnated. Compared to voiturette and GP cars in Europe, most Indy cars were embarrassingly crude. A Maserati which was uncompetitive in Europe was modified to win the Indy 500 in 1939 and 1940, missing three in a row in 1941 owing to mechanical failure whilst leading.

      F1 engine regulations favour teams who build both engine and chassis. This has always been the case. A team who can determine the location of components sticking out of the engine side will always have a theoretical advantage *. As we have seen this year at Ferrari (and to an extent at Red Bull), the advantage may not materialise in practice. There is a further theoretical advantage when the engine and chassis designers are geographically close. A counter argument is that rapid development can be achieved when the work times of two design teams are eight or twelve hours apart.

      * Example: In the 1950s, BRM changed the magneto location in order for their engine to be installed in the experimental Cooper-BRM. Sadly, the car had too many problems to become a serious runner.

      1. > F1 engine regulations favour teams who build both engine
        > and chassis. This has always been the case.

        You were doing fine until this 😉


  18. I think Mercedes’s argument that in season development will increase cost dramatically is wrong. The engine dynos run 24/7 anyway in developing engine performance, so that expenditure will not increase. All the engines for customers aren’t all manufactured on the 1st of Jan and sent to them. The manufacture is staggered during the season. If you introduce performance upgrades (found on dynos which are running anyway) when you have to manufacture new engines, where is the cost increase.

  19. Joe, on an unrelated subject: what do you make of the Fong/Nissany Sauber test ? These are also-rans who have shown little to nothing that warrants an F1 test. Are these drivers paying for it ?

  20. The problem I see with the current scheme is that for example, Honda is not bound to the F1 rules. They have an additional year of development, know their competition’s strengths and weaknesses and could test the engines without any limitation.

    On paper, the 2015 Honda engine has the odds to be the best engine playing on a field with competitors that developed their engine one year ago, with no benchmark references and almost no testing.

    I don’t believe freezing engine development would be a cost-cutting effective measure, while you have teams that spend resources on 5 different wing prototypes for just one simple GP. If I were the FIA, I would rather put a restriction on the number of upgrades a team can develop through a season.

    For example, restrict the front wing to 3 types only (high, medium and low drag) and allow only one upgrade per season of each wing. That would result in a maximum of 6 different wings per season, which will make the engineers to do more careful thinking whenever an upgrade is designed.

    1. Again, you end up with the same amount of development. The same 500 wing profiles would be tested in CFD, then the best 100 would be tested in the wind tunnel. Now there are no limits so the best one gets taken to the next GP; in your scenario, the only cost they would save is for the part itself, not the expensive computations, wind tunnel time and parts, and design/engineering time. All of that remains the same, so the cost savings is minimal.

      The same goes for the engine: they are testing all kinds of things right now with all aspects of the engine, but rather than being able to use them now, they have to wait for the end of the year. Also, they are going to not only test the best possible combination, but they will have to go to the added expense of testing all of the possible permutations of the allowed tokens to see which is marginally better. Do we go with the new pistons, cams, intake and electric motor? Or do we go with only the intake but implement more changes with the batteries? I can see many, many dyno tests where they test every possible combination… an unnecessary task/expense if engine development were open.

  21. I think that the engine freeze would be good IF one team didn’t have such a distinct superiority. Because of this, the races are becoming Mercedes parades. This is bad for the sport, and could be remedied by loosening the freeze a little. I read that Mercedes has spent almost £200 million on engine development. This is obvious proof that cost control needs to be implemented, in my opinion. But you feel engine development should be unrestricted. Can you have both?

    1. People talk about Mercedes engines being a huge advantage but you still have to design a good package. McLaren have done poorly this year and Red Bull and Ferrari have been outperforming most of the Merc power plant teams. It just doesn’t hold much water. Ok they have an advantage on some tracks but isn’t that same with any dominant package? Red bull high df tracks etc.

    2. F1, at its core, strive for the continuous advancement of innovation in the unyielding quest for excellence. Every 3-5 years one team hits the sweet spot and dominates for a period. Interestingly over the past few decades two individuals, Ross Brawn & Adrian Newey, have been the dominant principal, respectfully, at the nucleus of the design format to these teams’ cyclical dominations. Mercedes have achieve their current status based on merit, thus it would be very unfair to both the spirit and intent of the competitive process and fair play to change the rules.

      Furthermore, according to Tech Guru Mark Hughes, Ferrari went quite radical with the design of its F14 – T with a dramatic over-emphasis on its aerodynamic package at the expense of its PU. Naturally, there isn’t equilibrium or a goodness of fit between the two. So, why Mercedes should now be penalized for the faulty design format by Maranello? (See: “Why the aerodynamic failures of the F14 T have led to a power vacuum at Ferrari”. See also, “Ferrari’s 2014 Secrets”).

      In the final analysis, lifting the engine freeze and changing other rules and regulations could lead to the equality of mediocrity.

    3. Engine development is currently only unrestricted in terms of implementation. Right now everyone is developing and spending as quickly as possible to find the best possible combination of all of the upgrades they found to get the best result from their allotted tokens.

      It’s not like the V8 freeze where everyone had mostly squeezed what they could out of the formula (probably 99%); they froze it when the turbo hybrid engines were around 90% developed. That means that everyone still has to impetus to keep developing as quickly as possible, whether or not they can implement it now or in a year or two or three.

      Ergo, you end up with the same costs for the same development with only delayed implementation and frustrated fans.

  22. ” the ultimate prize is to sell more cars …. ”

    …. has been soundly proven false by BMW [ and VW-Audi ] Ever since BMW left F1 .. their sales have increased exponentially along with their profits … not to mention their former F1 facilities now benefiting their Motorcycle divisions evolution and sales as well [ read all the press on that story ]

    Fact is Joe . Ever since Mercedes stepped up as a manufacture in F! their sales have not increased in the slightest [ according to internal M-B polls ] due to their F1 involvement . Fact is .. when polled .. 72% of Mercedes owners said they pay little or no attention to F1 what so ever . BMW and VW- Audi [ who have told F1 and Uncle Bernie where to stuff it many times ] have constantly and consistently with few exceptions out sold Mercedes as well as been more profitable . Fact is … no manufacture … present or past has ever been able to convincingly link increase in sales/profits to their F1 participation . And that includes Ferrari !

    And if you think the Daimler Benz Board of Directors , shareholders and dealerships aren’t aware of these facts … well good sir … business … is definitely not your forte

    As to the current engine formula being in any way shape or form .. Brilliant ??

    Not unless your definition of Brilliant to be ; overly complicated … excessively restrictive .. damaging to both race results as well as grid placement [ what with the replacement penalty ] … making the racing boring as watching paint dry .. predictable as the rain in London … and did I mention excessively expensive to the point of absurdity ?

    Brilliant ? No no .. more like ludicrous verging on the absurd . As to why the rules are the way they are … thats answer is a simple and obvious one . In order to line somebody’s pockets . Too bad its definitely not the manufactures , teams , venues [ like to hazard a guess how much Austin has lost to date Joe ? ] or the fans benefitting though … Which begs the question . Who the ___ is profiting from this rampant and blatant stupidity ?

  23. I always thought this would have been the best solution too – if there was a spending war, the money would be going into technology that is viable and applicable for the rest of the world, and not developing an intricate winglet in the aid of a few points of extra downforce.

    Although there would be questions about how many teams one supplier would be obliged to supply customer engines for at the capped price.

    The only downside I could come up with would be if one manufacturer got so far ahead of the others that the competition dropped out leaving only one supplier, and the incentive for any new ones to come in would be less than it currently is due to the potential budget needed to get up to speed.

  24. Joe,
    Off topic. I haven’t seen anything about a “An Evening with Joe” in Austin. Is it going to happen again?

  25. To use your tokens means that you are developing your engine to see what works best but can only implement your allowed tokens , so where is the savings ?

    Renult and Ferrari can have a much improved motor waiting in the wings that is paid for but only some parts may be used .

    This rule is against what f1 is about , when a team has an advantage others copy or find another solution or design it into next years car .
    Mercedes will have many years advantage knowing what parts are on the drawing board & best integration in the design of the next car compared to other Mercedes powered cars .

    After seeing Nico come through the field last week & that advantage makes for dull racing knowing the amount of mistakes the team made this year but will still win driver & constructor titles for a few years with whoever they put in the car.

    Being the richest team & lots of lead time , how many engineers & how many millions did it cost to develop that engine , that was an advantage other teams did not have at the time .

    Disgruntled rave .

    1. Agreed! Everyone is spending as if it’s open development, but the fancy new parts are sitting on a shelf waiting for the end of the year (assuming they are part of the optimum token combination of parts).

  26. The Sochi race clearly demonstrated ALL that is WRONG with F1:

    1. Limited FUEL / fuel flow.
    2. Having to SAVE tyres.
    3. Engine PENALTY, FROZEN engines.
    4. Relying on PITS stops to create interesting race….
    ( we want to see overtaking ON THE TRACK, not in pits ! )
    5 AERODYNAMICs preventing overtaking, DRS is a sticking plaster.

    What a RIDICULOUS way to go Motor RACING !!!
    No wonder people comment how much better RACING is in lower formulas….

    However , there is a SIMPLE way to sort the ENGINE performace disparity and cost:
    Simply allow more fuel / fuel flow, and / or / alternatively turbo boost to
    Renault / Ferrari etc. This will cost next to nothing.

    F1 has accurate data on all the cars performance, it would be quite easy
    to determine how much HP / torque the Renault and Ferrari engines are lacking.

    Yes, it’s yet more artifial intervention, but that is now nothing new in F1.
    British Touring Cars Championship has been run on those basis for years, the racing is GREAT.
    ( I will admit it isn’t always entirely fair, but more then current F1)

    I you agree, you can reply with just ‘+1′….
    (one time F3 driver)

    1. I agree with all of the numbered complaints except fuel restrictions; they’re necessary moving forward. The reality-TV-tires, the frozen engines, DRS, mandatory use of two compounds are all ridiculous.

      And no, I don’t want any inclusion of “REWARDS” ballast, boost penalties/allowances, etc. That’s just as bad as DRS, or worse.

      What is needed is open development for the first year of a new engine formula; then at the first race of the second season (or last pre-season test) the engines are homologated and updates can be made a few times in the year (dictated by FIA); then each year after that, engines are frozen for the year and specific tokens are allowed. That would allow for much closer competition and still keep costs down in the long run.

      Beyond engine stuff, they need big, wide, sticky tires that the drivers can actually lean on. Everyone is confused because they’ve moved from Bridgestone hockey puck tires to ridiculous fast-wearing Pirellis. Yes, out of the two options the Pirellis do offer better racing, but what would be best is a sticky tire that could survive a whole race, or potentially offer the option of a mid-to-late-race pitstop for sticky rubber for a sprint to the end. The drivers need a tire they can beat on, but that stands up to the abuse.

      Finally, they need a lower-energy diffuser, simpler wings and the wider sticky tires I discussed above. Now the diffuser is too steep, and ruins the airflow behind the car; they need a shallower diffuser that starts further forward. That could generate more downforce, and then enforce single-element wings front and rear; this would create more drag along with the bigger tires, which would allow us to get rid of DRS once and for all.

      I won’t get into double points… 😉

  27. I can see why Renault and Ferrari would want to unfreeze, with Hondas arrival next year, they are limited on development whereas Honda are not. With 4 Mercedes Teams (of which 3 have world championship history) and McLaren. Realistically, the remaining teams may end up consigned to the lower positions. Red Bull will almost certainly find a new engine source by 2016 if the Renault power unit is not good enough , meaning Renault will likely leave the sport. And that new engine supplier will also get the benefit of building an unfrozen engine! Leaving Ferrari in a position where they could easily catch up but can’t because a regulation has left them fighting with one arm behind the back and everyone else on the grid starting from a position of relative advantage.

    If this was to happen we’d be in the ludicrous position of the team who take the most money from F1 left in a position where they are contributing the least to F1! Engine freezing should only apply on years were new engine suppliers aren’t entering the sport. Every other year the current system, considering laws of diminishing return, should allow the respective engines and teams to naturally converge maintaining a competitive field!

  28. Perhaps the answer is for the winning constructors engine to have less development tokens than others. Thus giving others a chance to catch up.

  29. Look, the regs even allow you to change the distance between cylinders! That’s pretty fundamental, upper and lower crank case, no problem. If you spend all your change points you have almost a new engine, what more do you want to change that is not already allowed?

    Far from being frozen, the engine regs seem to allow enormous change and development, they just stop you bringing along a different engine. (“‘ere bung this Merc engine in, nobody will notice”)

    1. Err the regs demand a V6 engine at 90 degrees with 80mm bores. Combined with the capacity rule (1600cc +0cc/-10cc) and dimension rules, the engine is designed already. Cams, valves and revs are all strictly controlled. Off the top of my head, I can see three reasons for fundamental ic redesign:
      1. Mechanical or bearing problems at the bottom end. I do not believe that any engine manufacturer got these factors wrong.
      2. Crank case modifications to move ancillary components at the request of chassis engineers. Every engine manufacturer will receive change requests of this kind.
      3. Copy the Mercedes-Benz MGU-H (turbocharger) design!

      Renault and Ferrari will be spending most of their tokens on change 3. Mercedes-Benz don’t need to catch up with themselves.

  30. With all this talk of “Why are Mercedes spending all this money”
    This is my perception although I’m open for any German setting me straight
    – Within Germany MB have dropped the “Engineering Excellence” accolade they once had (Thirty years ago) and therefore “within Germany” they wouldn’t be seen is the “Company” who really knew what to design or why. BMW and Audi/VW/Porsche have both developed into far competition orientated Manufacturers and that has definitely led to huge changes to complete cars.

    Maybe MB fundamentally knew that they had to start winning to internally change something which had become a bit of dinosaur.

    Oh ! and they want a German Driver speaking German as it’s Germans they’re fighting – they don’t want some foreign Chappie winning. (No disrespect meant – just my view)

  31. Personally I don’t like the current F1 rules. I don’t like the little engines, the brake by wire brakes, the energy harvesting, the 8 speed gearboxes, the batteries the tyres etc etc. There is far too much electronics in F1 and less physical ability needed. I like the ICE and love a truly well engineered design. I like V8’s V10’s V12’s Boxer 12’s and any other cylinder combo one wants to design. I prefer cc’s to turbos but the current rules don’t inspire me at all. Knowadays I watch F1 purely because I have done so for 50 years nearly, and love racing cars, but I don’t pretend that I love the modern cars or the circuits they have to use or the rubbish tyres and DRS etc etc. I hope that when the current ideas are finally seen as dead ends for F1, that maybe things will take a step back to previous times when I found an F1 car to be something of beauty and engineering that was fascinating to look at in detail.

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