Mercedes would have left F1 without engine change

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In the round-up: Mercedes would not have stayed in F1 had the sport continued using the old V8 engines.


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Mercedes could have quit over engines (BBC)

“Mercedes has revealed it would also probably have stopped if F1 had not in 2009 decided to commit to the efficiency formula, around the time BMW and Toyota left the sport. ‘I think so, yeah,’ [Daimler board member Professor Dr Thomas] Weber told BBC Sport. ‘Because we had the discussion.'”

Marussia F1 team now independent from car company (Reuters)

Marussia spokesperson: “There is no impact [of Marussia Motors’ difficulties] whatsoever on the Formula One team’s operation. There is no link between the two companies financially or technically. The F1 team has been an independent operation for some time.”

Raikkonen: Ferrari is not stupid (Autosport)

“We are not stupid people, we have good things going on. Unfortunately right now it’s not the prettiest thing when you look at the end of the race, but I have belief in the team that we can turn it around.”

Massa has ‘freedom of head space’ (ESPN)

Rob Smedley: “I know him inside-out and I can tell you that he is a very, very good driver. He’s been given the freedom of head space here to do what he’s paid to do and he’s delivering.”

Formula 1′s weighty issue (Duncan Stephen)

“Jean Todt’s comments on the matter are deeply worrying. The FIA president appears to shrug off any suggestions that F1 has a weight problem.”



Fernando Alonso drives during this week’s test in Bahrain. Ferrari had to abandon the test early after discovering damage on their chassis.

Comment of the day

Maybe what F1 needs is more artificiality?

I don’t understand the need to artificially change the sound. Hypothetically though, we could artificially change lots of things.

We could make the exhaust fumes artificially smellier; that would be visceral and evocative, wouldn’t it? And tracks that struggle with low attendance, we could use artificial spectators.

And teams that can’t get sponsorship, they could be given pretend ones that make it look like a sport that is financially sustainable.
Alex Brown (@Splittimes)

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52 comments on “Mercedes would have left F1 without engine change”

  1. Luth (@soulofaetherym)
    10th April 2014, 0:04

    That CotD is full of win. :)

      1. Instead of the hidden words popping out at the viewer when the TopGear endurance racing episode was filmed, perhaps messages that make more sense when the DRS is activated?

    1. Spot on.

      I have no doubt that at my first hybrid era GP on site I will miss the V8s, but as a TV viewer a think the fuss around the sound is nonsense.

      1. +1.
        We have the spectacle. I’m glad and thankful to guys running Mercedes team that they got it right. I don’t care if they win every race of the season as long as we see racing we saw at the last race. Even if they go soundless ;-) Many of my friends rediculed me for being a fan of ‘buzzing cars’. I miss that sound though, but I prefer the rumbling sound of hybrid cars. The whole issue seems rediculous to me. I must admit.

  2. The title explanes a lot…

  3. They had wooden cut-out supporters in the stands at St Johnstone’s stadium in the Scottish Premier League (football) years ago!

    They don’t use them anymore so I’m sure a deal could be agreed to ship them out to China and artifically fill some of expected empty seats at the Shanghai International Circuit in two weeks time! :D :D

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      10th April 2014, 1:10

      I’m not sure about stadiums in the UK, but here in Australia they colour all the seats different colours to make it look, from a far, that there’s people there. When in fact there may be only a few thousand people in the stadium, it’ll look like almost a packed house.

      Well, that’s their tactic anyway. I don’t think it’s massively effective. But hey! Kudos for effort.

      1. It’s very popular now. I think it started with a Portuguese architect some 10 years ago.

    2. Or they could shove a few Chinese symbols in the stands to fill all those empty seats. Oh wait…*

      *See stands at turns 12 and 13 from the last few years.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        10th April 2014, 2:41

        @deej92 Those stands are always empty. They may not even sell the tickets for that area.

        1. No you’re right I don’t think they have for years now.

    3. stevensanph
      10th April 2014, 5:13

      those cut out supporters were actually sponsored by real fans, who could either have it made up or an image of themselves! I think it was $20 for the season from what I remember. You got to keep the ‘fan’ at the end of the season :)

      Shanghai hasn’t been too bad in recent years. You got to remember that the track has a capacity of something like 200,000 fans. They don’t open some of the grandstands hence the impression it is empty. They also give tons of tickets away to ‘sponsors’ who then don’t bother to turn up – it has become much harder for regular punters to buy tickets compared to the early years of the event where you could turn up on the day and pay a guard 100rmb to let you in…

    4. @calum It would probably be cheaper for the Chinese to just pay some of the rural population to go and sit in the stands than to ship cut-out supporters from the UK ;)

      1. It would probably be cheaper for the Chinese to just pay some of the rural population

        This is China. They wouldn’t pay them, they would just order them to attend, and order them to look excited about it.

  4. Everyone knew already that Mercedes were planning to leave, it’s well documented, it was obviously the view of the Mercedes higher people and the ever decreasing patience of their sponsors that Mercedes were to leave F1 the soonest. After having little success since their reinstatement. Mercs last hurray was Lewis Hamilton, which gave them more leverage to avoid an ironic Honda 2009 repeat.
    I share the same views as the cotd. If Ferrari isn’t stupid why haven’t they got an intact chassis?

    1. After having little success since their reinstatement.

      Do you mean when they returned to supply engines, or 2010 when they became a main team again? Because the talk about leaving is referring to 2009 when the new engine formula was first envisaged, before the team even took over Brawn, so talking about that is irrelevant to their decision. And they have had reasonable success since becoming suppliers, even if it didn’t translate to any championships for a long period (although they still earned 6 titles by the end of 2009). They moved up to being the 4th most successful supplier in terms of wins.

      Mercs last hurray was Lewis Hamilton

      So that last hurrah was incredibly recent in this context, and wasn’t even really their last, as they were in the middle of powering Brawn and Button to both championships- although not as an official partner in sort of capacity which they worked with McLaren.

  5. I think RAI is confused. That Ferrari isn’t the prettiest, thing period, not just at the end.
    I wonder, maybe we could bury it in the tyre wall and leave it in Bahrain.

  6. It’s a bit, on the nose I think to say “Well we would have left” Now that they are winning.

    All it tells me is that if they don’t win again they might leave. Which is crap. Red Bull have been making the same kind of threats and they’ve only been not winning for what, 2 months or so?

    I wish the big new teams who came in would just commit to sticking it out. It’s not good for the sport with the attitude that they have.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      10th April 2014, 2:46

      money. You invest money for revenues. Toyota spilled tons of money to nowhere and they never won. They commited for more time but they considered it was enough tie for so little achievements. Red Bull is a “drinks company” and they have TONS of other investments in different sports, music, art, even fashion. They stayed 5 or 6 years until they finally won. Mission accomplished, Over-accomplished with the last 8 titles. if they don’t care to stay, I would be dissapointed but not really surprised.

    2. @mike The problem is that they weren’t gaining much from F1. Mercedes is already a household name which gets great exposure. They’d developed the hell out of V8s for years (on and off track). In short, F1 was a waste of their resources. Their sales year-over-year have grown at a steady rate when compared to the days before they re-entered F1, so one could argue that advancements in technology was the driving factor for them. Manufacturing millions upon millions of cars a year, having to deal with more stringent mpg and CO2 emission regulations is incredibly hard to deal with internally via your R&D department. However, with F1 they can continue their regular R&D, but in essence have a whole other team, of potentially higher calibre out-of-the-box thinkers, who have to adhere to insane power and efficiency regs. That will invariably trickle down to their road cars, eventually benefiting their customers, and possibly all road users. That’s the beautiful thing about F1.

      While I imagine they’re in it to win it, you’re probably right in saying that the big teams should commit and stick it out. But this isn’t the days gone by. It’s 2014 and free-market capitalism is in full swing. As the article touches on, board members, shareholders etc all contribute to the decision of F1 participation for Merc. It could come down to just 15ish people. Without solid R&D or monetary gains, it comes down to whether the board actually like F1 and wasting time and resources… when looked at from their perspective it just doesn’t make sense, and I say fair enough.

      Would I like more committed teams? Yes, but to me it’s a dream. Money and marketshare are king nowadays, and F1 is the sideshow.

      P.S. Renault engines pretty much towed the same line a year and a half ago when the new regulations were discussed. If I remember correctly, Ferrari wanted the regs implemented 2015, and Renault said they’d think about leaving unless it was 2014. It’s just the way of the world my friend. F1 is smaller than it once was in the magnitude of things, it just isn’t that cost-effective if it’s behind the times with V8s

    3. Now that they are winning.

      They were winning then though. They had just won the drivers title with Hamilton the year before with their main team, and in 2009 they powered both the drivers and constructors titles.

  7. “And teams that can’t get sponsorship, they could be given pretend ones that make it look like a sport that is financially sustainable.”

    Well, this is something not far from many situations we’ve seen in F1.

    1. I remember the first few years of Force India, the car was covered in companies that Vijay Mallya owned

      1. @gruntr18 but Vijay Mallya entered F1 so that his companies can be promoted to a global audience!

    2. The 2011 HRT springs to mind aswell.. ‘Your Company Name Could Be Here’

    3. “Earth Dreams”

      1. I really don’t know what Honda were thinking with Earth Dreams.

  8. Corrado (@)
    10th April 2014, 8:04

    I’m saddened to read this ! Thank God for the small manufacturers, otherwise F1 wouldn’t have even existed. Looks like main manufacturers want instant success (= 2-3 years maximum), otherwise they leave the sport. The “money” reason and/or being road relevant technically is pretty much false/lie in my opinion. If a smaller company finds the money to stay in F1 for years and years, without even winning at all, seems like a big lie to say the money are a problem. If the big manufacturers, who sell millions of cars every year, don’t have the money to run an F1 team… who has ?!?! How much of the tech stuff used in F1 over the decades was road relevant for Ferrari or McLaren, for example ?!? The V10 engines were never used by Ferrari in street cars, yet they never threatened to leave the sport because of the money being spent on tech stuff that never brought money to the team. 2014 rules favour Mercedes indeed because they have a lot more experience with smaller engines, turbos and fuel saving/lower consumption compared to supersports cars manufacturers, who just in the last decade started to be “bothered” by the fact of not having V6s and V8s in their store or by developing engines keeping an eye at the consumption too.

    1. How much of the tech stuff used in F1 over the decades was road relevant for Ferrari or McLaren, for example ?!?… they never threatened to leave the sport because of the money being spent on tech stuff that never brought money to the team.

      That’s irrelevant, as they are both race teams first and foremost (at least that’s how Ferrari started, and it’s hard to imagine them without some form of motorsport). You can hardly fault manufacturers getting involved for wanting their involvement to result in the right kind of brand promotion or a way into investigating certain technologies.

      1. If the manufacturers want ‘instant’ success I can understand that. Most entities know that wanting and getting are two different things though, and it is not accurate to say that they want it in 2 or 3 years or they leave the sport.

        The money reason is most of it. It’s about return on investment. I think what some are missing here is that in fact even if a team isn’t winning all the time or hasn’t won a WDC lately, they have still been getting a return of some sort on their investment by being in F1 and having the global exposure from that. They must be, because they didn’t get to the point where they can be in F1 by making bad decisions all along with their domestic car side of things. They aren’t in the habit of just throwing away hundreds of millions a year for nothing. If winning was the only way of getting a return on investment, then yeah for sure we would see teams coming and going like the wind, or perhaps F1 would not exist at all because it would not be a valuable marketing medium, if indeed a board had to be literally guaranteed wins and Championships in year one before they would be convinced to commit.

  9. The changes in the formula made sense – you see the same trends in the WEC and now in F1 with the return of Honda. The matured V8 / V10 were toys for engine manufacturers and neither a good place to grow engineering talents nor a good marketing platform nor useful technology. The initial plans of V4s was probably a bit over-board but the V6 compromise was unquestionable one of the best decisions in recent times (especially compared to the other things they came up with: gimmicky tires, over-use of DRS and double points).
    I for one am totally happy with it and I more than willing to accept the few disadvantages that come along with it like the lack of noise. But I also wished that there would be some constructive discussion around the sports problems (partially caused by the new formula) like driver weight (whenever I see Button now it triggers the urge in me to feed him). Also they should stop using liquorice as tires. If a guy can drive 2s faster after a pit-stop then you know this problem has not really gone away but is overshadowed by other things. And finally double-points, I’m rooting for all non Merc drivers to snap the WDC away from HAM or ROS in Abu Dhabi just so they see first hand how stupid this rule is.

    1. Corrado (@)
      10th April 2014, 8:50

      I tend to agree with you, but not really. F1 is/should be a standalone sport, the pinnacle of motorsport as we know it. It’s not and never was a sport for the masses. It’s not like any driver could jump in an F1 car and make some laps for fun. Could be a headache to even make move a car like this for a simple driver. We have lots of formulaes for that (road relevant or so): GT cars, V8 supercars, Le Mans etc etc. Also, mixing F1 and/or comparing it with some other cattegories is a “NO NO” in my opinion. WEC/Le Mans is something else, closer/relevant to road cars, and should stay like that. F1 filled another category and turning it in another “road relevant formula” is not something I expected and also don’t want to see happening. I reckon I watch(ed) F1 (in the last 2 decades) partially for its exclusivity, high tech stuff, for having the best drivers and engineers in motorsport etc. So, in my opinion, F1 should stay as much as possible “the ultimate” racing formula. We have also GP3 and GP2 “road relevant” enough, making F1 too much road relevant is a bad move in my opinion and also maybe should trigger the end for GP3 or GP2.

  10. Excellent. I can start calling the Manor again, like they should be.

  11. Mercedes leaving doesn´t really surprise me. It was the “easy” way for them to get a championship. It was obvious that if the engine change hadn´t happened, the usual suspects would have been fighting for the titles and MERC would have been present but they would have continued to fall like rocks come race sunday.
    It´s sad that F1 has come to this. Gift championships in order to keep someone happy and stay. THAT is a true sign that F1 no longer respects itself, like it doesn´t respect itself with drs, etc. SAD.

    1. It was the “easy” way for them to get a championship

      Because Merc engines didn’t win any titles at all. Except in 98, 99, 07, and 09.

      1. Not in 1999. Ferrari won the WCC in 1999 and very probably MS would have won the WDC too if it wasn’t for that accident.

      2. And 08.

        1. Yeah, I meant 08 not 07 :-$

    2. Once again, this was referring to 2009, when Merc were only a supplier who were actually enjoying recent and ongoing success.

      1. maybe, but 98/99/07 i think mercedes owned a big stake on mclaren, so they were something more than a engine supplier…

        1. Like McLaren didn’t have to pay for the engines you mean? That was worth a few million a year!

        2. So? They were enjoying enjoying success regardless.

    3. Not sure why you have decided that Merc has somehow been gifted something, like it was a given that with the new power units would come Mercedes domination, and a given that without the reg changes they would have continued to fall. Everyone was on board for the changes even if some disagreed on the timing of when they should be instigated.

    4. @karter22 nothing was gifted to them – they were just smarter. And the engines had to change, because V8s are outdated technology and no engine supplier was interesting in keeping it going with all the development freezes and restrictions in place. Mercedes, Ferrari, Cosworth and Renault were the only suppliers remaining after the exodus in 08. If they hadn’t granted their wishes (btw also LDM moaned about the lack of relevance of engines in F1) – then it would have ended up being a Ferrari, Cosworth* series or even ceased to exist.

  12. LOL COTD!

    Grandstands full of cardboard people with a tape recording of applause and cheering. That would be surreal!!

    What the hell, lets have loop the loops and laser guns too!

  13. Jean Todt is showing his colours over the issues of the cost cap and driver safety. It seems he is more interested in keeping the top teams and Bernie happy than he is in ensuring the future of the sport, or the health and safety of of drivers and marshalls.

    If a driver is in any danger of losing consciousness behind the wheel as a result of being underweight there is a huge risk that the FIA cannot ignore. I dare say that some sponsors will take a dim view of that too.

    As for the cost cap, letting the big spenders carry on as they are can only end up in teams going bust or leaving F1. How will that help anyone? Would Ferrari rather win against no-hopers? Would audiences want to watch that?

  14. Everyone is talking about the sound of the new F1 engines. And everyone says its not an easy fix. But maybe the easy way to improve it is to give the teams the chance to run the engines full out to their redline of 15k rpm.
    I don’t know for sure (and would love to hear feedback if people have this information), but I don’t believe any of the teams are currently running near the 15k rpm redline.

    And this is probably because of the fuel rules. There are three rules in place regarding fuel use, though most people only talk about the first 2.
    1 – total of 100kg of fuel per race
    2 – max flow rate of 100kg/hr
    3 – flow rate equation – below 10,5k rpm, the max fuel rate = 0.009*rpm+5.5

    If you calculate using 10,5k rpm, you’ll get 100kg/hr max flow rate. It’s a linear equation below that point, with a constant slope, but above 10,5k rpm, it flatlines and stays the same until the 15k rpm redline.

    So why would the teams be trying to push these engines much higher than 10,5k rpm when there’s no extra fuel to be used? If they used that same formula up to 15k rpm – you’d have a max flow rate of 140kg/hr at 15k rpm. I bet the cars would sound much better when the teams are wringing out the engines all the way….
    And maybe increase the max fuel load to 120kg or something in between 100 and 140, and it should make for better sounding engines and better racing.

    I think F1 has already achieved much greater efficiency from their power units this year – they’re getting around the same (or slightly more?) power out of a an engine that’s 2/3rds the size of last years while using less fuel. I think that’s already a victory.

  15. Ferrari has a lot of problems, i think they will not get much points.

  16. I find this article amusing. This is the same company that only 3 years ago were complaining about cost rising etc etc. They have done a sensational job on the engine front and good on them. But these comments are clearly brought about because of the criticisms from Ferrari and Redbull.

    I find it amusing that f1 complains about costs yet consistently change the rules which cost millions of dollars to implement. This ridiculous green agenda, and using f1 as a research and development technology area is ill informed and only destroying the racing as it will only make it harder for teams to compete at the top level and the people to blame is the teams for letting it happen and the FIA.

    Going to the track now is a waste of time, there is no thrill or excitement anymore. I normally attend three races a year and this year after Melbourne I am not wasting anymore money on f1.

    This year racing will be as boring as f12013. Mercs are so far in front that not even the bulls will catch them Horse power and delivery is king which is something merc has mastered.

    Just imagine how good the f1 season would have been this year if we simply adopted the aero rules and not the engine rules. No blown diffuser bulls would be quick, merc would be quick and Ferrari would be quick. Through the corners these cars are all on par, only straight line, horsepower, and drive out of corners are killing the bulls and Ferrari.

  17. Raikoner seems to learn politics fast, i believe that whatever ferrari will do it will not pair with the Mercs so whatever they plan to bring in the upcoming races will be better for sure but not enouph.. offcourse is my believe. I also believe that he does politics because he for sure knows that Alonso will not tolerate this till the end of year and if alonso will leave he will be No1.. except if Ferrari produce an incredible car for next year and a good driver will go there (Vettel maybe)

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