New engines a burden for “struggling” teams

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says F1’s expensive new engines are a burden at a time when teams are struggling.

Jerez car launches and testing

The launch and test season moves up a gear today as Toro Rosso reveal their new STR9 at 4:30pm UK time (5:30pm local) at Jerez in Spain.

The day after that the first live F1 action of 2014 will begin. Red Bull, Mercedes, Caterham and Marussia are expected to reveal their cars for the first time, and the Williams FW36 and Force India VJM07 should be seen ‘in the flesh’ for the first time as well. McLaren, Ferrari and Sauber will also be testing.

For the first time ever F1 Fanatic will have two people on-site to cover a test, as Will Wood is joining me at the track to assess Formula One’s new look – and sound. For more from us throughout the test be sure to check in on F1 Fanatic Live and follow F1 Fanatic’s social network accounts for updates and pictures:

Thanks to JDC Promotions who are supporting F1 Fanatic’s coverage of testing this year. If you’re interested in watching a grand prix from the comfort of their bespoke corporate hospitality suites you can find out more on their website:

Thanks also to the steadily growing number of F1 Fanatic readers who have contributed to the site to help cover the cost of covering events like testing. If you would like to contribute to F1 Fanatic you can find out more information here:


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Christian Horner: ‘Fear of failure drives all of us at Red Bull’ (The Guardian)

“Teams are struggling commercially at the moment and the new, incredibly complex engine is a burden.”

Frijns had shot at Caterham race seat (Autosport)

Tony Fernandes: “There was a lot of debate about bringing him in straight away, and we erred a little bit on the side of caution.”

The 240m pay-off! How Bernie could settle German bribery case and avoid prison (Daily Mail)

“Although it is unusual for a court to take money to settle criminal charges, it is perfectly acceptable in Germany. In June 2011, German engineering group Linde paid 29m to the Munich court to settle corruption allegations ? even though there was no ruling that it had done anything wrong.”

McLaren MP4-29 – analysis by Craig Scarborough (Peter Windsor via YouTube)

How Rush recreated the danger of 1970s Formula 1, without the danger (Digital Spy)

“You can hear the fuel pump going on, you are sat on the fuel tank effectively. In fact, in Niki Lauda’s Ferrari, you can see the fuel line sat next to you while you’re driving. You end up feeling, ‘If anything goes wrong this is going to be bad’.”


Comment of the day

Fernando Alonso’s comments inspired some discussion about the merits of recent eras of F1 history:

Cars looked better and I can imagine they were more fun to drive. However, while the V10s were amazing on paper, the fact that they were driven with the help of traction control and were powering cars on threaded tyres basically meant a lot of the power never got to reach the tarmac anyway.

I’d rather have engines with slightly less power on slicks and without the help of electronic aids. V8s were underpowered compared to the amount of downforce the cars had though, but I’m optimistic that’ll change this year.

From the forum

  • Dispute over the end of the Daytona 24 Hours but some encouraging news about the two drivers who were involved in a serious crash

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Shelley Lee, Tnfox and David Clifford!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Emerson Fittipaldi delighted the Brazilian Grand Prix crowd 40 years ago today by winning his home race for the second year in a row.

It was his first win for a McLaren and it came after a race-long scrap with former Lotus team mate Ronnie Peterson. A heavy rainstorm caused the race to be stopped after 32 of the scheduled 40 laps of Interlagos.

Clay Regazzoni took second place for Ferrari – and took an early lead in the drivers’ championship – while Fittipaldi’s replacement Jacky Ickx was third for Lotus.

Here are highlights from the race:

Images © Red Bull/Getty

Author information

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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49 comments on “New engines a burden for “struggling” teams”

  1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    27th January 2014, 0:28

    @keithcollantine could you publish the full mail? It may be really interesting, as I support the same idea of not watching F1 this year.

    1. Just go ahead and not watch then. Are you afraid to do it lone?

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        27th January 2014, 11:51

        In reality, it won’t make a difference unless people boycott F1 in mass so I guess that’s what the goal is.

        Having said that, whilst i don’t like the way F1 is going, I’d rather than this gimmicky form of F1 we have now than nothing.

        Even the double points crap… I will certainly work out the points as they should be and that will be the final positions for me – I don’t care what they are officially.

      2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        27th January 2014, 15:27

        @baron I’ll do it, alone or not, but what’s your point anyway? I said “reading the mail would be iinteresting”, not “I’m asking for more people’s support”

        1. My point would be that if you have become that disenfranchised with watching Formula 1, you would simply stop watching it not seek other peoples ideas as to why THEY’VE decided to stop watching it. Or are you just undecided and need more confidence?

  2. The video said “the first thing that strikes me is the push rod suspension”! To me
    it’s the front wing

  3. @keithcollantine – So glad you and Will Wood are able to attend the events at Jerez. Another reason this is the site for F1 fans. Looking forward to your firsthand reports!

    On another note. Seems likely that Bernie will buy his way out of his legal troubles in Germany if at all possible. What is £240m to Bernie?

    Some good news, we are one day closer to a new and different F1 season!

    1. I don’t think Bernie will buy his way out of that @bullmello, because it wouldn’t really solve his issues. He will want to get through the trial to prove his innocence (if he fails to do that, they can still go and do a settlement to avoid being locked away), because buying his way out of a trial wouldn’t help him keep in control of F1.

      1. @bascb – Interesting legally that this could even be an option in a criminal case in Germany. Certainly not typical in most jurisdictions including here in the US. The article mentioned another case where the defendant paid a settlement, but received no ruling from the judge of any wrongdoing. I could see Ecclestone accepting that type of settlement as a way to avoid jail and make this particular case go away. Also interesting that the settlement avenue is not a likelihood until the trial actually begins. It is fascinating to me that it is even possible that he could even buy his way out of this at all, legally.

    2. So Bernie with settle his bribing case with another bribe. Welcome justice :)

  4. In June 2011, German engineering group Linde paid £29m to the Munich court to settle corruption allegations

    So when you are accused of bribery or corruption, you can bribe the court to drop the charges? Sorry, I meant “settle” the case by paying off the court. Sorry, that sounds like corruption now. I’m sure they are all perfectly innocent and all those charges are brought against them just because they “had” to pay someone off so that the person in question wouldn’t reveal their illegal tax evasion schemes. Nothing wrong with that, nothing at all.

    One more evidence that law is not the same for everyone. I don’t see how the amount of money someone has should be able to influence the court’s decision, especially in cases where financial crimes are in question!

  5. He denies paying a bribe and claims Gribkowsky threatened to tell the tax authorities that he controlled Bambino if the £27m was not paid.

    Ecclestone keeps repeating that, but whichever the way you look at it it’s wrong. I mean, if he wasn’t in control of Bambino, than he had nothing to hide and no reason to pay Gribkowsky except for bribe related to the sale of F1.
    But he doesn’t deny paying him off, so apparently he has something to hide. Either his tax evasion crimes or his sale of F1 crimes.

    I mean where is the logic in his defense with this line?

  6. The weight issue is an annoying problem that should be seriously addressed at least. In another sport where more body mass gives you a greater, natural advantage I can understand, but I highly doubt there is a measurable or relative advantage gained from being larger. hDue to the nature of the sport, were excessive weight is exceedingly relevant and generally harmful, I suppose it is acceptable to give these drivers an increased weight allowance, if not one that makes up the full discrepancy; a partial one

    On the other hand it is their body and would be difficult, yet alone fraught with criticism, picking and choosing which characteristics of a driver’s biology needed to be took into consideration for possible handicaps or allowance’s. I don’t think it would acceptable to handicap drivers who possess quicker reaction times than their counterparts, so where would it end?

    also @keithcollantine, any chance the BBC are showing testing in Jerez? I am not blessed with SkyF1 even though I thorough enjoyed the BBC’s pre-Suzi Perry, lovable freak-Jake Humphrey F1 coverage

    1. Motogp leaves much less space for taller and heavier riders as the bikes are weighted riderless thus leaving Rossi carrying effectively 15 to 20 kgs of extra weight if compared to Pedrosa and marquez all things considered it also could provide some advantage whereas in f1 weight is always a killer I cannot think on abetter way to solve the weight issue than the current situation.

      1. Marc is 8kg less than Rossi and Dani is 8kg less than Marc. However I was surprised to see Dovi weighing at 66kg on the MotoGP site, I previously saw him in at ~55kg.

        Weight is not a killer in MotoGP because the bikes are so short and the accelerating performance has more to do with the electronics/TC than the rider’s weight. Fuel is the only thing that would really be affected, but I am sure that the difference in 8kg is barely marginal, as it would have more to do with the maps and TC.

        I completely agree though for F1, the cars are much longer and they don’t wheely as much and the weight is very static and cannot be moved around the chassis to provide an advantage.

        1. If this is the case then why does Pedrosa always get a storming start compared to the majority of the grid? Surely his weight (as has been said by the various commentators of MotoGP) is a factor? And if it is then every time he accelerates out of a corner he has an advantage (again which has been seen as other riders can get close to him going into a corner but fail to gain an advantage out the otherside).

        2. @pcxmerc
          Bikes not affected by rider weight.. what??? The difference between pedrosa on his honda and all others on the straights is like night and day. Simply checking top speed charts you will see how pedrosa is no1 on just about any circuit they go to. He hasn’t got a clue how to brake though, which is why he often can’t take advantage of his better acceleration. He gets side by side with his op accelerating bike and then just gets outbraked by everyone.

  7. Is the practice live on Sky Sports F1?

    1. Sky will not be broadcasting testing live this year.
      As in the past there will be live updates every so often on sky sports news through the day & on SSF1 a round up & Ted’s notebook at the end of each day.

      Seems as I said a year ago, The cost of shipping out crew/equipment & producing the broadcast isn’t worth it for the low-ish number of viewers they got. Believe the average was below what both Sky & BBC get for there official practice coverage.
      The number of people who watched the 3D broadcast was so low they decided not to release the figures it seems.

      1. You’d think FOM could send a man with a camera which combined with some in car footage would make for an hours fascinating viewing at the end of the day.

        1. Yes, but then FOM wouldn’t allow people to watch it @hohum!

        2. FOM do send a few people to the test’s & they do produce a highlights feed at the end of each day which is sent to the news agencies & sky & other broadcasters do use stuff from that.

          FOM are not allowed to run in-car cameras during the test’s because teams usually have there own equipment in the cameras housing.

  8. Fernandez: “There was a lot of debate about bringing him in straight away, and we erred a little bit on the side of caution.”

    And instead chose a surefire success story, Marcus Ericsson.

    1. Caterham need a pay driver, so it would’ve been Ericsson and Frijns not Kobayashi and Frijns.

    2. When it comes to drivers who rise quickly through the junior categories, like Robin Frijns, there is a danger that they can be promoted too soon. Raw talent is not enough – it needs to be refined, and if it is not, then it can really hurt their prospects.

      For instance, I have heard that some of Frijns’ engineers in Formula Renault 3.5 got a little frustrated with him because he was not very open-minded about set-up. He knew what he wanted before he started refining his set-up, and his engineers had a hard time convincing him to experiment more. It was a result of his inexperience and a stubborn streak, and if he got promoted to Formula 1 without ironing it out, it could hampered his performance.

      1. Also, I am bemused that people still criticise teams for taking paying drivers over talented drivers when they know full well that teams need money. If there is a choice between taking a paying driver and guaranteeing the team’s future, or taking a non-paying driver and risking that future, there really is no choice at all.

        I am sure everyone would appreciate Caterham taking Frijns. But if the team did and then folded after half a season, I doubt many people would question the wisdom of taking him in the first place. He may be talented, but that does not guarantee him a seat.

  9. Yes the new engines are a burden to the teams, it wouldn’t be a burden if they got a fair return for their investment instead of Bernie and the faceless investors (In Bernie, not F1) creaming of 50% of profit every year even if that will be only 37% from now on it’s still to much.

    1. You know perfectly well that if the team’s are given more money, they will spend more money. Say a team would normally have a budget of $100 million, but would be given $20 million by FOM under your proposal. They are not going to start raising $80 million and use the extra $20 million to make up the full budget. No, they know that they can raise $100 million, and will get an extra $20 million, so they now have an operating budget of $120 million. You have not fixed anything – you have simply made the problem of rising costs worse by enabling them.

      Also, you destroyed the sport by giving the teams money that was otherwise needed to pay off the sport’s debts. Debts that are now going unpaid.

      1. Also, you destroyed the sport by giving the teams money that was otherwise needed to pay off the sport’s debts. Debts that are now going unpaid.

        That is complete nonsense @prisoner-monkeys and you should know that by now.
        The sport is in debt because the party that bought it paid themselves back first the whole of what they gave for it and then loaned another chunk to payout profits tied to future revenues. They were only able to do that because of how much of the cash they can keep in FOM and do not have to pay to either the teams or FIA (or the tracks). Had there been less cash available, they would have simple had to settle for less.

    2. 13 % of the unofficial figure of over a billion a year is still quite a lot.

  10. High activity here. The times of the season F1Fanatic becomes F1 Fantastic! Great job @keithcollantine

  11. Those are some funny looking cars from the 70s.

    1. Funny looking drivers too. Sutil with mutton chops like that would be pushing 80kg.
      Love the way they went round corners though. Bring back crossplies!

  12. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    27th January 2014, 9:11

    Frijns had shot at Caterham race seat

    I doubt that highly. If a team that finished last in the WCC was so financially manacled that it felt compelled to put Ericsson in its car, I strongly doubt that a driver without sponsorship would have ever be in with a realistic shot. Why else would you chose Ericsson over Frijns, owing to the fact that Frijns has more talent and more F1 testing experience? Nice try, Tony, but you can’t endear yourself to fans by making a bogus claims…

    1. The way I see it: either Ericsson or Vd Garde for 1 seat for the sake of money and either Frijns or Kobayashi in the other seat for experience or talent. I highly doubt that Ericsson and Frijns were in the race for the same seat.

      1. exactly, people only see a rookie VS rookie competition for seats, when in fact it really was ‘promising rookie VS proven (even if not massively impressive) talent’

        Allthough I am really biased since I’m swedish and a huge fan of Kamui, so I actually find myself rooting for Caterham this year, which is nice since before I only had Williams to properly hope for.

      2. @matthijs – True, but Kobayashi brings F1 experience and some sponsorship, so in reality Frijns didn’t have a hope in hell…

        1. I think you are right, but I was merely pointing out that (in my opinion) a choice between Frijns or Ericsson was never an option for Caterham.

  13. Great to see you will be making it to Jerez with support crew this year @keithcollantine (and @willwood), looking forward to seeing you uncover some nice things out there, and give some feedback about what these cars sound like for real!

  14. I see a lot of purple in that Red Bull truck. Hope it’s not the same on their cars.

    1. Their trucks have been like this in 2013. I think livery will be more or less the same as last year.

  15. Listen to this:
    Sounds pretty mean I think.

    1. Love sweet sound!

  16. @keithcollantine That e-mail about the gimmicks is from a soul-mate of mine! That’s exactly what I’ve been saying here since the black day of the announcement of thst rule. That it’s the last straw for me and I won’t be watching unless it’s removed(or at least definitely unequivocally removed for 2015, then I just won’t be watching Abu Dhabi)

  17. Hm, why do I feel uncomfortable when the team principal of one of the 2 most seriously over-spending teams/units warns about the cost of the new engines? If not for RBR and Ferrari I think FOTA could have already put together the basis of a limitation of cost that could easily be adapted to make it less of a struggle for the smaller teams on tighter budgets to compete in F1.

    1. Yeah… it’s odd. Politics and public image come to mind… “Hey look fans, we understand the financial problems too, we’re not the big evil overspending team you think we are.”

      A bit like normal politicians talking in public about helping the low-paid to get a PR boost, then rogering them sideways and giving boosts to rich buddies in private and when no one’s watching.

    2. @bascb +1. Crocodile tears come to mind. Also those who help the poor by “keeping them in their thoughts”.

  18. I am not staying up until 3:30am just to see the new Toro Rosso, so I am just going to comment on it now.

    The nose is very controversial, especially considering the way it is conservative compared to the others. I am surprised that people are still surprised by the sight of them, though I am not surprised that people keep making jokes about it. I would like some discussion on some of the other features of the car, though. Especially the way they have dealt with the cooling issues. The Ferrari-powered cars have all got skinny sidepods, but the Mercedes cars have all got larger intakes. Since the Toro Rosso is the first Renault team to launch, I have been curious to see their approach.

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