Renault accept power unit penalties are inevitable

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Renault say they will have to use a sixth power unit for some of their drivers – which will mean more grid penalties.


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Suzuka overview (Renault)

Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations: “We are however fairly at ease on this front since we have committed ourselves to introduce a sixth power unit where needed.”

Williams ‘optimistic all round’ for ’14, ’15 (ESPN)

Williams’ head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley: “We’re going to tracks now which have a much bigger power effect, much bigger drag sensitivity, so we’re really, really optimistic. Additionally to that in Japan we have a new aerodynamic package coming.”

Japanese GP – Allison: “To learn what lessons we can” (Ferrari)

“We go to Suzuka and the remaining races determined to close the gap to Williams and then try and actually pull ahead of them, with the aim of securing a third place in the championship.”

Button: Honda needs experienced driver (Autosport)

“It is a power unit that you are going to be trying to fill in a lot of holes with the ERS, so you need driver input and feel, from experience – you definitely benefit from that.”

Verstappen ‘could be F1 superstar’ (BBC)

Jackie Stewart: “He has been sensational early in his career, but F1 is another story.”

How’s my driving? It was fine when I was the F1 champion (The Sunday Times)

Jody Scheckter: “On the racetrack, driving really fast sharpens you up, but that’s not applicable to roads.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “I go to Sochi with a very open mind” (Sochi Autodrom)

“I go there with a very open mind but the most important thing is the track layout – that’s what makes a great race.”


Comment of the day

One explanation for F1’s declining viewing figures came up several times in yesterday’s debate:

Many people trying to give several reasons for F1 losing TV viewers and the reason is simply this one. Looking in Europe only, where F1 has its historical (and bigger I would say) fanbase, we see France is now on pay TV, UK half of races in pay TV, Netherlands moved to pay TV, Portugal is on pay TV for several years now, Italy also is pay TV for several races at least (like in the UK).

And then, the prices for these paid channels are ridiculous. In some places they cost more than subscribing an entire cable-service, meaning having the F1 channel costs the same as having close to a hundred other channels!

There are lot of people who are fanatics but just think its too much and use other alternatives to follow the race.

I also remember that the F1 race was seen by many people when on transmitted on free TV even by people that are not really addicted but enjoyed watching, like my dad. The move to paid TV sent away all those people that for sure is a respectable percentage.

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On this day in F1

Ayrton Senna struck back in the tense battle for the 1989 world championship by winning the Spanish Grand Prix 25 years ago today.

With team mate Alain Prost third behind Gerhard Berger’s Ferrari, Senna was 16 points behind Prost with two rounds remaining.

Here’s highlights of the race from the perspective of pole sitter Senna, and footage from Prost’s car as well:

Images © Renault/DPPI, Red Bull

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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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56 comments on “Renault accept power unit penalties are inevitable”

  1. The double points is going to prove an interesting challenge (still wrong though).
    There are likely to be enough points on offer to mix up a lot of the championship positions so can any team afford to be running anything other than practically brand new engines?

    I’d expect most teams to take a penalty before then. Mercedes especially who have proven they can fight from further back and this could be very interesting for the back marker teams to grab some points.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      1st October 2014, 8:12

      @philipgb, good point.
      The double points (still wrong though) are so important that we will see many engine changes in Brazil. Which is both sad and a blessing. Sad because it confuses the race order in Brazil with all the penalties. But a blessing as we will have even more overtaking there.

      1. Maybe backmarkers could take advantage?? They should change in Austin, and maybe advantage Brazil (grid position)

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          1st October 2014, 11:45

          @f1indofans, +1.
          PS the Catherham strategy department just rang, they have a job for you ;-)

    2. I am in general against double points but if we do have to put up with it this year then I hope that it results in teams continuing to develop their cars right to the last race (rather than giving up on the current car to focus on the next year).

      I find the development of the cars throughout the season interesting and find it interesting how the developments can mix up the competitive order. It has been a shame that we have been denied this on occasions in the past due the “development freeze” necessitated by the requirement to develop the following year’s car (In my opinion, while it was still a remarkable feat, the “development freeze” played a part in vettel’s run of victories at the end of 2013 as it basically locked in the competitive order among the top teams).

      Perhaps with the immediate future of a few teams being in doubt, the potential for the teams to use double points to leapfrog their rivals in the constructors championship to secure vital funds in prize money will inspire the teams to develop til the end of the season, and hopefully give us a few thrilling surprises along the way

      1. 2013 was an unusual case. Very little development that year had any use the following year so the teams were keen to call it a day early on.

        This year and next with the rule stability teams aren’t just developing because of double points but because there is a big carry over.

        Some teams like Lotus will probably start nearly from scratch for next years car because this years was so awful. But for the rest they will see this years car as a solid platform to still work on new ideas.

        Apart from McLaren, they would probably already have called it a day and begun work on a new car even if they had designed the W05.

        1. Lol @philipgb regarding the comment regarding McLaren.

  2. Beautiful Larousse… Slow unreliable and with an ugly livery. DO you know why that car is beautiful? Because the man taking that picture is right next to that car, and that is also my answer to why F1 has lost it’s magic over the magic box. FOM needs the aggressive look and the sound and the speed to encapsulate people over tv, because live F1 is always amazing.

    1. I think he may have been referring to the shape, maybe?

      Sure looks a damn sight prettier than our cars today, not sure how that can be disputed!

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      1st October 2014, 8:17

      The way F1 goes today all cars will soon be museum pieces!

      1. i agree i have watched f1 for 50 years plus the tasman series for a number of years , f1 cars are made to be heard , not just seen , this years car is the worst ever, there is no better sound than a real f1 car in full song.

    3. @peartree My favourite thing about people who hark back to the old days is that they’re the same ones complaining that the current F1 is too engine-focused now. Lol upon lol

      1. @timi You’re right. One thing that never gets considered when you discuss the state of F1 is the fan’s flaws. The fans are very malleable and temperamental, it takes on guy on a social network or a pundit to sway thousands and in the end we end up with this hypocrisy.

  3. I’m not against fanboost in Formula e. Reason being is that it is trying something new. The low drag aero makes slipstreaming very ineffective and the stupid chicanes on the middle of the straights in Beijing made it single-file city.
    But I don’t want any kind of fan-manufactured racing in F1, the benefits would only go to Lewis and Fernando because they have the widest fan bases!

    1. It kind of sucks, but i’d take it over DRS any day of the week.

      The fact it seemed to make little to no difference may help, of course!

      But, sadly, that’ll change soon enough. They’ll give it the DRS effect, i’m sure.

      I do see the upside to it – social media. Simple as that.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      1st October 2014, 9:00

      Good news, Alejandro Agag said that he will accept a vote by fans over FanBoost.

      And his next words are very Bernie-esque: “With FanBoost, even if you vote no we will keep it”

  4. The editing in that video of the Red Bull going around the mall completely ruined the experience, speed cranked up, horrible music, horrible angles, no location sound, I mean it’s just awful and yet I bet if you had been in there it would’ve been quite a remarkable experience.

    Seriously I just don’t understand these marketing people, all they needed to create a great video were shots lasting more than 5 seconds each with proper sound!

    1. @mantresx That sound wouldn’t be accurate with the narrative.

    2. That’s a bit of a new F1 thing these days, 100 camera angle changes.

      It’s not as if mounted cameras are particularly new technology, either…

    3. The message of the video is that a new mall is opening and it is huge enough for an F1 car to easily go around and do doughnuts there. It’s all about the mall, not F1.

    4. its just an ad get over it its probably not edited by red bull anyway

  5. Not good;

    Honda delay could thwart Alonso switch?

    According to Italy’s Corriere dello Sport, the spanner in the works of Alonso’s sensational switch to McLaren could be some alarming rumours emerging from Japan.
    The report claims Honda is about three months behind schedule in the development of its first turbo V6 ‘power unit’, having encountered problems even greater than those struck by Renault as the troubled French marque prepared for 2014.

    The specialist Autosprint said Honda’s development V6 currently consumes too much fuel and produces too little power.
    “To try to recover,” the report explained, “Honda is investing massively and mobilising people and businesses around Japan.”

    1. @kingshark Autosprint is italian… It’s fishy to see this article just on an italian publication even if it is indeed very plausible.

      1. I wouldn’t say fishy per se … @peartree, but certainly something one should keep in mind (with his current employer, Ferrari, being Italian etc.)

    2. Keep in mind that prints every unsubstantiated piece of gossip going. That entire article is speculation and guesswork.

  6. Re: Comment of the day… very true.

    F1 is owned by people concerned only about their own balance sheet over the next five years. Pay TV suits them, but what’s going to be the cost further down the line?

    They don’t care, because by then it won’t be their problem.

    1. Agreed.
      I’m slightly stunned F1 is all over Pay TV in Europe. V8 Supercars, MotoGP, F1, even some NASCAR and Indycar races are/were broadcast live on Free-To-Air TV here in Australia, although the latter 2 have moved to Pay TV since, and MotoGP is available on both. I can see why major networks have made the switch from FTA to Pay, but it’s turning inro a failure with the amount of people looking elsewhere to watch the GP.

  7. Is Jenson begging for a seat for next year?

    1. @dam00r

      That’s exactly what all his statements sounded like. Trying to justify his spot in a top team like Mclaren. It’s good he doesn’t say that Honda might need a driver to get 100% out of their power unit on the track and pull a few tenths extra with their skill to close the gap… because there is no way Jenson is capable of that.

      1. @Todfod He is clearly making a pitch BUT he may also have a point. Similarly the Italian press reports may be propaganda to keep Alonso.

    2. 100%. I did chuckle at that.

      He may as well start wearing Honda merch everywhere and pretend it’s 2008 all over again!

      1. @dam00r Nope, he is trying to lure back his old pal Barrichello :-).

  8. In regard to COTD. It must show that pay TV is better. Here in Australia we have free to air F1. It is the most horrendous coverage of a sport I’ve ever seen . No practice , qualifying with ads and a race filled with ads. Eg. Last race they refused to take ads in the SC and took one 2 laps after the restart! Ads come in pit stops etc. I am seriously contemplating using a live stream of Sky which will use a lot of internet. I would welcome Pay TV F1 in AUS because I know that the coverage will be 1000x better.

    1. In the U.S.A we pretty much have that, only its behind a paywall.

    2. I think you are expecting too much from a free to air broadcaster. Its a huge ask to expect practice to be shown live, the number of viewers would not justify the expense. To put it into real world experence. I have been to the melbourne Grand Prix for many years and whether in the grand stand or general admission the spectator numbers are never as high during the practice sessions than during the race. People buy a four day grandstand ticket but only come on race day. I have seen that many times. I want Ten to keep F1 as paying for a Foxtel package just to watch something that is only on every other week for 8 months of the year is not something i want to do.

    3. but you are one of those people called fanatics. There are very few of us. COTD rightly points out that to the casual supporter of f1, in Europe f1 is all but dead due to pay tv. Out of sight, out of mind. At least in Australia billy football can still see the race on a Sunday night.

      Having said that, I am one of the money-poor fans that uses “other means” to see the FPs, qually and the race

    4. I agree that FTA coverage in Australia is horrible, but I also don’t want the coverage to go to Foxtel where I would be forced to pay up to $120 per month “just” for the F1 channel.

      I realise other channels come with… but I could not care less about those.

    5. Not necessarily.

      We had BBC coverage from 2009, and it was absolutely superb!

      We now get exactly the same from Sky Sports, but have to pay a few hundred quid a year.

      1. i thought that was one of the best years of tv broadcasting. since jake the snake left, it’s been cringeworthy.

      2. @ecwdanselby & @frood19 the bbc coverage of F1 was remarkably good. The only way that pay TV could improve upon it is more extended coverage for those of us that are greedy and wanted more F1

    6. @ambroserpm i do agree that payTV is better when you are already watching
      but for casual viewer or just starter payTV is insurmountable obstacle.
      With little or no new watchers adding to existing fanbase it is only expectable that viewing figures will drop.
      As far as i know there is also no tradition of watching F1 in pubs so that lead channel is also closed. Most races are 2pm anyway on Sunday, i am not on pub at that time.
      And as for watching live one must just check the ticket prices to understand why attendance is dropping except in most popular venues.
      So if i am a someone who has never watched F1, i must make and extra effort and pay to see it. Why should i if there are numerous other activities with far smaller costs?

    7. What I’d like to see is a TV model whereby you can pay a fee per session over the GP weekend and get access to all the fantastic coverage that is available out there. The technology exists yet there seems to be a lack of business acumen and will from both the TV companies and FOM. I love F1 and have followed it from the seventies. Until such time this idea becomes a reality, I will watch it on the BBC or stream it on the net.

      1. A certain TV box can be bought to add you your TV which can get a day/weekend or other length of Sky TV inc F1 for a relatively small fee.

        When the GP is not on BBC live, that’s what I’m doing now.

        Sky put on a good show, but it’s not worth £30 extra a month.

  9. Unrelated to the Round-up but the silly season this year has been absolutely everywhere. Last thing we needed to hear from good ‘ol Eddie is that Vettel and Alonso might be in Mclaren next year together.

    1. I think it’ll be another one of those disappointing ones where everyone just stays put.

      It was the first year of the new regs, and i’m sure Ferrari will be promising Fernando that they’ve got their head around them now, and i’m sure Red Bull will be doing something not too dissimilar with Vettel, but in regards to the Renault engines.

      Afterall, we’ve seen Horner wring them out publicly on more than one occasion. I can’t help but feel part of that was to reassure Seb that they’re on Renault’s case.

  10. Formula-I (@)
    1st October 2014, 7:16

    Honda motives to partner Alonso-Button

  11. On free-to-air thing, it’s a trend. Few countries are likely to keep it (like Brazil) for the foreseeable future but most countries want. I pay to watch F1 since 2000 or 2001 and I’m used to it. This trend is not exclusive to F1 only, the bulk of major sport events are now on pay-tv.

    I can watch a couple of UEFA Champions League for free but if I want to taste 8 games of the night I’ll need a subscription. Same with NBA basketball, Ryder Cup, Indy, Bundesliga, EPL, La Liga, Ligue 1, ATP and WTA tennis, NFL and so on.

    Pay-tv is here to stay guys. Let’s hope it gets a bit cheaper in some places, in my case the cheapest subscription is around 55 USD per month.

    1. Pay TV is on a fragile footing. Falling figures for F1 in the UK since the switch, possibility of an investigation into Premier League rights, the rise of low cost streaming for music, film and TV. All these suggest to me that the public appetite for paying exorbitant prices for limited content is waning.

      Take sky for example. Why would someone who *might* want to watch the race pay hundreds for watch every session throughout the year. A casual viewer is unlikely to want to watch the practise sessions, so why should he pay for them?

      For £5.29 a month – £63.48 a year – I get access to hundreds of films and TV programs on Netflix.

      I say things are changing, but I don’t imagine FOM will realise. Instead their viewing figures and profits will drop, squeezing more and more money from the dwindling numbers of viewers and teams until the whole thing collapses. Either F1 will be gone, or we get a fresh, more basic rebirth of our sport.

      Meh, I’ll find a way to watch regardless.

  12. Nice article with Scheckter relating to this road awareness course!

    1. @bascb he is a very likeable columnist and i am a big fan of his (historically of course – his title was before i was born!) but what he says about the 20mph limit is wrong. a whole section of a human’s peripheral vision is distorted and unreliable once you are travelling over ~20mph. so i think it makes abundant sense in cities and big towns. the average speed through london is slower than it was in 1890s anyway, at around 5mph.

  13. I’ve stopped taking serious notice of anything Jackie Stewart says.

  14. ColdFly F1 (@)
    1st October 2014, 8:45

    The Hulk sees the matryoshka dolls as the most Russian things.

    Are those the dolls where the bigger one absorbs the smaller one next to it?

  15. The two teams (Williams,Ferrari) seem very optimistic about the championship. On the one hand I see Smedley’s point beacuse the next races will favour the FW36 very well with long straights,high speed corners and with the updates they may have the 3rd place in the bag.On the other hand Ferrari doesn’t have the straight line speed and fast circuits seem not favour them,they may bring updates but I don’t seriously think that Ferrari will pass Williams and pull away very easy.Ofcourse in F1 everything can change very fast so looking forward to the fight!!! :D

  16. petebaldwin (@)
    1st October 2014, 10:14

    Last bit of COTD is spot on. I used to come into work after a race and a few of us would talk about the weekend and how the race went and usually, a decent amount of other people would comment on it – plenty who you would have never thought would have watched F1. Lots of people who perhaps wouldn’t sit through a whole race but still take an interest and would be shouted into the room when something exciting was going to happen.

    Since the move to Sky, no-one in work knows about F1 anymore. Even the mates I used to speak to about it don’t have Sky and are fairly technophobic so won’t go looking for free steams etc. Because they can’t watch all the race, they have lost interest and most now only watch the highlights in the evenings.

    Out of the 100 that work here, 5 of us used to have a decent chat on Monday mornings with another 10 or so chipping in. Now it’s basically just me going on F1Fanatic.

    The stupid thing is that the move to pay TV has killed off any casual interest anyone may have had so we’re left with more hardcore fans now. So then the powers that be set out on a crusade to make F1 more popular with casual fans by adding double points etc and we’re now left with a sport that is aimed at casual fans but is too expensive for them and alienates the more hardcore fans.

  17. Small mistakes could cost big blow, calling Verstappen too early could also cost a lot of his career. He is really quick, but he need to learn a lot, maybe next 1 or 2 years, 17 is very young. Kvyat and Bottas maybe pass through f1 by only GP3, but they have experiences. And then another example is Alguersuari. I really respect Sir Jackie Stewart comment though, I also agree if this one is succesful then he will become superstar, but it just too early

  18. Suzuka is not the place for Seb to take a penalty. He’s the easily the best around here from the current grid.

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