Ferrari to use modified engines in Spain

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Ferrari has confirmed it has gained permission from the FIA to modify its engines ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix. The team hopes it will solve the reliability problems it has suffered with its power units.

They were forced to change engines in both cars Bahrain, Fernando Alonso retired from the Malaysian Grand Prix with engine trouble and lost another engine during practice at Shanghai.

In a statement the team said:

A lot of work was carried out on the test bench, completing several long runs and this work produced some solutions which it is felt will solve the reliability problems experienced in Bahrain and Malaysia.

The team therefore requested and received authorisation from the FIA to make some changes within the framework of the current engine regulations and these modifications will be fitted to the engines to be used in Spain.

While since China, everyone in the Gestione Sportiva has been working hard as always on their various areas of activity, it is fair to say that over the past weeks, the staff in the Engine department really produced a major effort, working night and day to analyse, evaluate and solve issues that have affected engine performance in past races.

Ferrari has also given some more details of its version of McLaren’s F-duct which will be tested by both drivers at the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday.

Ferrari’s F-duct will be driver-operated, like the version which has been fitted to the MP4-25s since the start of the season:

Evaluation has therefore been quite a lengthy process, involving simulation and test bench testing, prior to it making its track debut last Saturday during one of the four permitted straight-line aero tests, held at Vairano. Giancarlo Fisichella was at the wheel of the F10, while Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were able to try the system on the simulator.

On Friday in Barcelona, the wing will be tested by both drivers during the free practice sessions, as they will need to get used to actually operating the system and there will be no need to do a back-to-back evaluation against the existing wing as this has already been carried out at Vairano.

Read more: Ferrari test F-duct and new aero at Vairano

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “Ferrari to use modified engines in Spain”

  1. FA on home soil in an engine modded RW80 car… gulp. oh on a snoozefest track with little chance of rain. double gulp!!

    1. “RW80 car”? I think you mean the F10.

    2. weather forecasts suggest rain. but don’t count on it arriving during the race!

      1. RW80 = McLaren’s offical name for the F-Duct. Whether Ferrari call it the same or not I don’t know.

        1. They surely would not use FW80, would they?

          Maybe they could translate it in italian to have a different acronym?

        2. Prisoner Monkeys
          6th May 2010, 13:58

          I like Red Bull’s designation for it: the F’ing Duct.

  2. “during one of the four permitted straight-line aero tests”

    There is that 4 days again. The regulations say 6 days of aero tests are allowed. Why does 4 days come up (again)? Did the teams decide to go for only 4 days when 6 would be allowed due to the regulations?

    BTW it’s also not “straight line” tests, but “aerodynamic tests”. Technically they could use a constant radius track too. Although for the life of me I cannot see where or why they would do that.

    1. I think you can sacrifice a straight line test day for a full day of wind tunnel testing or something.

      1. That is my understanding as well, 1 day of straight line testing for a full day of wind tunnel testing.

      2. It’s still part of the 6 days allowed aero tests right?

    2. Sorry, but what exacly is a straight line test?

      1. They drive the car back and forth on a straight piece of road.

        This allows the team to check the aerodynamics of the car without being able to work on the handling of it.

        Apparently they are also allowed to run on a constant radius track. Guess that would mean they run in a big circle. Again, I can’t imagine why or where they would do that.

        1. Rockingham? Maybe some kind of oval? There are some pretty large patches of tarmac around and about.

          Still, rules seem to be, 6 days of straight line aero testing, testing days can be scrapped for a day of full wind tunnel testing. For instance Mercedes could run the four different windspeed wind tunnels they have there for 24 hours straight.

          1. So if Ferrari talk about 4 days allowed, does that mean, they traded 2 days for wind tunnel testing up front?

            Or did the teams agree between them to limit testing even more, going from 6 allowed by the FIA to 4 days per agreement?

  3. Along with other teams developments one tends to laugh over budget restrictions. Nevertheless this is what makes F1 so interesting throughout the whole season.

    Should we see a change on the pecking order specially with the new mercedes long chassis?

  4. It seems the engine is unreliable. Just 4 races and Ferrari changed their engine (how many times exactly??)

  5. It’s a conspiracy!!! ;)

  6. At least, Ferrari should somehow still be penalised for changing engines, or not? The only thing that gives me hope is that they´d run out of engines 4 or 5 races before the end…

    1. They did get permission to modify the engines, so they won’t be getting any penalties unless they run out.

      1. But how many engines did they use?

        I guess it is like this?
        Bahrain: nr. 1 & 2
        Melbourne: engine nr. 3
        Sepang: engine nr. 3 – went bang at the end
        Shanghai: engine nr. 1, 2 & 4?
        FELIPE should have another engine.

        Will a used engine be changed for them, or do they have to use a new engine from the allocation?

    2. ” Ferrari should somehow still be penalised for changing engines, or”
      I think unless they go over the eight engines then they won’t get a penalty.

  7. Scalextric
    5th May 2010, 5:48

    Will STR get the new engines in Spain? Or was their Ferrari engine not affected by the problem? They are listed as the same type (056) so I assume the mods are available for STR as well as for Ferrari. With no penalty, but by now Ferrari, or at least Alonso, must have used several engines so the end of the season is going to be difficult if the remaining engines are getting old.

    Room for some conspiracy theories here.

    Ooh look!.. “The engine can’t be changed…” ..a preseason quote from Marmorini (Ferrari engine/electronics head) @ (Under News/scroll down to ‘The F10’s engine’). Quite amusing, especially the bit about saving money and emphasising the need for reliability.

  8. Will Sauber and STR get this revised engine too?

  9. Sush Meerkat
    5th May 2010, 7:53

    With this F duct that everyones copying, surely they’ll be making passive system’s all over the car?

    like active aero which is banned.

  10. One can only hope that Ferrari’s new engine mods produce the desired reliability. After all, should the engines begin to smoke in the race, the hue and cry of smoke coming out of Ferraris being subliminal tobacco advertising would begin.

    (Sorry, just couldn’t resist. LOL)

    1. Hahaha! That one was funny!!!

    2. That is very good!

    3. nice joke!
      Even the similarity about the dangers to bystanders is here (with oil on the track) :D

  11. How come Ferarri always seem to get away with these things.

    Isn’t it the same engine they used last year? They didn’t have any problems with it then. If it is the car that is affecting the engine, perhaps they should revise the car, which IS allowed under regulations…

    1. There are areas on the engine which can be developed even during the engine freeze, which is how Mercedes have eeked out an advantage powerwise.

      Ferrari aren’t the first team to have special dispensation to modify the engine, as after the 2008 season Renault were given the same thing to allow them to catch up to the others in terms of power.

      1. They cannot develop the engines other than for reliability.

        What happened was that the teams were allowed to develop parts on the outside of the engine. Oil pumps, filters and such. Apparently the teams could get quite some performance gain from that as well.

        Red Bull stated that last year Renault and Elf put in a massive effort at the end of the year to improve the performance, economy and reliability by developing these exterior components.

        For 2010 the ruls state that external engine components are homologated also. So I guess now they really cannot change anything anymore unless they can prove to FIA that it’s for reliability.

        Renault suggest a package of update to their engines during this season and some updates were disallowed because they would give a performance gain.

      2. Renault had a chance to change the engines anew at the start of 2010 as well.

        Mercedes changed the engine as well during the last years before it got to be the best package.

    2. They are not getting away with anything. Engine modifications for reliability are permitted and reliability has been their issue. All has been done properly with the permission of the FIA.

      1. Indeed. When Mercedes did the same thing a few times in the last couple of years it wasn’t even news. But when Ferrari do it…

  12. Just a couple of questions, as Ferrari have been allowed to modify their engines does this mean they can only change new engines that have not been used yet or can they also alter engines which have seen some action?

    Also considering there is supposed to be an engine freeze what have Ferrari changed since last season to make their engines more unreliable, was it something to do with the refuelling ban?

    1. supernicebob
      5th May 2010, 10:23

      I was thinking the same thing: with an engine freeze in place, how have they gone from a reasonably reliable engine last year to one with an intrinsic problem that apparently required a design change this year?

      According to Autosport it is related to air consumption.

  13. Ferrari International Aid strikes again…

    1. boom boom, TING¬!!

    2. Ferrari Internation Aid for what? Complying fully with the rules? Stop whingeing.

      1. I think people are upset that Ferrari have outright said that they used to top up the air during pitstops. Now that pitstops have qurtered in length, they no longer have time to do so while the car is stationary.

        My response: boo-hoo! They should have built an engine that could last race distance or settle for having to make a longer pitstop. Those should be the penalties for designing an engine with a fault.

        1. It may have been a fault, but they are still merely trying to improve reliability. I believe that after Renault reliability let Red Bull down, Renault were allowed to work on their engine to improve the reliability (as PatrickL pointed out above). Not to mention that engines have been frozen since what, 2007? A full three years before the refuelling ban (and the significantly shorter pitstops) were brought in.

          Therefore my response to those crying about “Ferrari International Assistance/Aid” or whatever is a similar “boo-hoo!” Improving reliability is within the rules!

          1. And as well, it looks like Ferrari have successfully proved it was for reliability, fully shutting down the “International Aid” crying.

    3. From the amount of Ferrari going Bang this year up to now, you can be hardly be serious about that.
      The changes to the race format have brought to light a reliability problem for Ferrari. I would certainly not like having the fight for the championship being less interesting because Felipe and/or Fernando go bang every second weekend. Very sad for Sauber as well.
      All engines were developed in the last couple of years. True, maybe changes Ferrari made have now backfired, but that is no reason to let them make a fool of themselves all year by not allowing them to adress the problem.

  14. So according to a number of commentators here, Ferrari aren’t even allowed to do anything within the rules? They have a reliability problem, they applied to make changes to fix the reliability, FIA agreed (as the rules clearly state this is ok). A couple of other engine suppliers have done exactly the same over the last few years.

    Ferrari aren’t even my team (nor are McLaren, Red Bull or Mercedes for that matter), but I really tire of the constant conspiracy theories/bleating about cheating that seem to pop up whenever there is any story related to Ferrari.

  15. The biggest beneficiary of this engine change is Sauber, not Ferrari. That’s who the FIA is looking out for. (at least in my delusional world!)

  16. I would have thought Ferrari should have consulted FOTA and got their agreement as well for the engine modifications…

    1. I think all teams are sent details of what is done with the engine before they are allowed to make changes by the FIA.

  17. David Smith
    6th May 2010, 8:06

    Its to stop them smoking! after all with the Marlboro barcode if the engine starts smoking well I’m off down the shops to buy my packet of ciggys (anyone with a barcode on will do). Stop at a shell petrol station only on the way home and open up a money savings account with santander!!!who says advertising doesnt work? Oh I also have 5 mobiles all on vodaphone…lol :)

  18. Prisoner Monkeys
    6th May 2010, 14:04

    For those of you worried Ferrari will pull a fast on, it doesn’t happen like that. In order to make cahnges to the engines, they’ll most likely have to do the following:

    1) Submit a proposal to the FIA, with evidence (telemetry) of why the changes are necessary
    2) Have the proposal reviewed by someone who is knowledgeable in this sort of thing; most likely Charlie Whiting since he’s the FIA’s technical delegate
    3) Make the changes and submit the engine at scruitneering so that the FIA can inspect it and make sure the changes that have been made are in line with the proposal

    Besides, think of it this way: Ferrari have Alonso. They’ve made a big deal of having Alonso. They’re going to the Spanish Grand Prix, Alonso’s home race. Do you really think they’d risk humiliating themselves and Alonso in front of one of the mot ravenous and unforgiving crowds they’ll appear before this season?

    1. They all so need photographs for whatb they want to change too I believe. I’m sure I read that the teams don’t have to show a part failed during the race weekend however, it’s pretty clear given Ferrari’s races and the blatant failure in Malaysia that there is a reliability issue. I don’t see how they could pull a fast one and as you right point out PM, they have a lot to lose if they get caught.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        6th May 2010, 15:12

        I’m told that the issue is not so much the design of the parts, but the way they were manufactured.

  19. Anyone know where you can find out how many engines each driver has used? I know they ae only allowed to use 8 in the whole season, bt even on they don’t tell you how many each driver has used so far.
    Cheers for reading.

    1. Go to and click on 2010 season.

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